Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford blocks a shot by defensemen Brent Seabrook during NHL hockey practice Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Chicago. The Blackhawks begin the lockout-shortened 48-game regular season against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)The Associated Press
Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, bottom left, speaks to his team during NHL hockey practice, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Chicago. The Blackhawks are scheduled to begin their lockout-shortened, 48-game regular season against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)The Associated Press
CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks have been ousted in the first round of the playoffs the past two years after winning the Stanley Cup.
The Blackhawks believe they can make a big run this season where there's little room for error with just 48 games to play. It starts with Saturday's opener at Los Angeles.
The Blackhawks still have the same cast of stars from their championship run, with captain Jonathan Toewes (tayvz) , Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, but salary-cap issues forced management to part with key pieces of the supporting cast. And they haven't quite found that same sort of mix.