Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

After an uneventful summer, the Chicago Blackhawks rolled in to the 2015-2016 season with new faces and a date with the New York Rangers on opening night. The banner raising ceremony was neat, if a little long, and the title defense  got off to a fairly lethargic start. A three-goal first period, capped off by a hilariously catastrophic play by Trevor Daley, was all the Blueshirts would need to sour the first game of the year.

Barely two minutes into the contest, Oscar Linberg and Viktor Stalberg combined to make Daley and the other Trevor look like house leaguers to open the scoring. A mishandle by the newly minted second line of Patrick Kane, Artem Anisimov, and Artemi Panarin in the offensive zone led to a 3 on 2 into the home team’s end. The Hawks’ back line retreated until they were nearly on top of goaltender Corey Crawford. It was bad. Van Riemsdyk at least made an effort to break up the play while Daley spun and fell down onto the ice as Lindberg buried a slick feed from JT Miller.

A little over ten minutes later, though, that same Hawk line returned fire as Kane sent a beauty saucer pass to Artemi Panarin in the slot and the rookie made no mistake about it. It was as gorgeous of a goal as you’ll see from those two and hopefully we can look forward to seeing that chemistry develop. If it does, the Western Conference is going to have some problems with the Hawks’ top six.

The JT Miller line would attack again shortly after the Blackhawks’ tally, though, to give the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish. A delayed high-sticking penalty on Ryan Garbutt allowed New York to get Henrik Lundqvist out of his crease for an extra attacker and the hodgepodge line that had Andrew Shaw, Garbutt, and Andrew Desjardins out there looked incredibly lost, allowing a one-timer blast from Kevin Klein to beat Corey Crawford.

Look at the positioning from Garbutt and Desjardins, though. This is incredibly poor by the Chicago forwards and it was not a banner night for either of those two gentlemen. Someone got lost on a defensive zone rotation and, woof, Klein was wide open.

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After the Rangers went up 3-1 on that gaffe by Daley, the Hawks regrouped heading into the second period. Teuvo Teravainen came to the rescue and blew a Marian Hossa feed past Lundqvist to make it 3-2. Dan Girardi made an incredibly soft play along the far-side half wall and the Hawks made the Rangers pay.

Eventually, the home team would dictate the play and look, well, like a team that should compete at the top of the NHL this year. Unfortunately, that tying goal never did come, although the Hawks seemed to have tied it with just over a minute to go in the game. Jonathan Toews slammed the puck on goal during a late scramble in front and the biscuit was trapped under Lundqvist’s right pad. As the referee was ready to blow his whistle, Kane flew in and poked the puck across the line. After a review, the correct call was made — the play was ruled dead as the officials lost sight of the puck.

Good thing, too, or we would have had that awkward situation where people would be cheering for someone who was accused of raping someone in his home and then was allowed to come to training camp and start the season in the lineup prior to any charges being filed.

Anyway, the Hawks have some work to do this year — David Rundblad stinks, TvR is not what many thought he would be — though I guess he’s young (the same age as Rundblad), and my god what the hell does Bryan Bickell do anymore?

The bright side is that this team is still stacked and can do some serious damage. If a young defenseman like Viktor Svedberg or Ville Pokka can come in and be reasonable AND this team stops trotting out Bickell, the Hawks should breeze to the playoffs.

On to the next one, folks.