2009 preview: Chicago Blackhawks

In Phoenix, there’s the whole situation of selling the team. In Ottawa, trading Dany Heatley dominated the news. But when it came to the sheer amount of unique stories, the Chicago Blackhawks easily led the league.

Patrick Kane allegedly beating up a cab driver for 20 cents. Having the league investigate the Marian Hossa signing. Forgetting to send notices to some players, allowing them to become restricted free agents, and then having to sign said players for more money, which led to the general manager being fired. Letting Martin Havlat walk, and then hearing him complain about the way he was treated in Ottawa.

Without a doubt, if it weren’t for the Blackhawks, it would have been a dull summer.

Story of the season:With having to sign so many players this past summer because of the mistake this past summer, does this team need to make trades this winter to free up cap space for next summer? With Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith set to become free agents next year, the Blackhawks need to find some way to keep them.

Former Habs: Cristobal Huet

Blog to follow: Blackhawk Up

TV commercial:

Pool Picks: Patrick Sharp. He sometimes gets ignored because of all the scoring prowess on this team. But he’ll be on the first or second line. True, he’s only cracked 44 points once (when he got 62 in 07-08), but if he’s healthy, he’s good for 70 points.. Stay away from: Dustin Byfuglien. He really made a name for himself in the 2008 playoffs. But he’s a checker and a banger, not a scorer. He’s never had more than 36 points in a season, and will probably finish somewhere around 40-45 points.

Award nominees: Brian Campbell for the Norris.

Expected Finish: Second in the central, fifth in the west

Cheerleader:The Blackhawks have an ice crew, and they are one of the most popular. I wonder why.

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