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updated: 7/17/2011 11:46 PM

Blackhawks look set to go for season

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  • Duncan Keith, from left, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa watch a video commemorating the team during opening ceremonies of the Blackhawks convention.

       Duncan Keith, from left, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa watch a video commemorating the team during opening ceremonies of the Blackhawks convention.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Consider the Blackhawks closed for business for the summer.

There still is the small detail of dealing Chris Campoli or letting the defenseman walk as a free agent, but unless general manager Stan Bowman hears a trade offer for a second-line center that's hard to pass up, this is the Hawks team that will head to training camp in mid-September.

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In a flurry of activity since the draft, the Hawks have added forwards Rostislav Olesz, Jamal Mayers and Dan Carcillo along with defensemen Steve Montador, Sean O'Donnell and Sami Lepisto.

Gone are defensemen Campoli, Brian Campbell and Jordan Hendry, goalie Marty Turco and forwards Troy Brouwer, Tomas Kopecky, Ryan Johnson, Jake Dowell and Fernando Pisani.

"At this point we're pretty happy with our group," Bowman said. "When you don't reach the level you want to reach you have to make some changes to try to get better, and we've done that.

"We're excited about the new players we brought in. I think once the fans get to know them and what they bring, they're going to really like what we have. Once we get these new players in here and you get to see them, you're going to recognize they complement the group that we had very nicely."

It's going to be another challenge for coach Joel Quenneville to mix in the six newly acquired players -- seven if you count backup goalie Alexander Salak, who is coming over from Sweden.

Last season Quenneville had to find a way for even more new players to mesh, and it didn't go as well as expected, but the difference this time is most of these additions from the past few weeks are experienced veterans.

"Everybody's got to be pretty excited about playing here in Chicago and being a part of this team," Quenneville said. "These guys are at different stages of their career. There is motivation in place and a great appetite in place.

"The attitude that the guys are going to have to start the season is going to be exactly where we want it and the focus will be in the right place. I can't say that's exactly the way it was last year.

"We have a lot of guys with some motivation behind them. I think we had some uncertainty last season."

There figures to be plenty of competition at camp with a handful of prospects trying to push aside a veteran for a job. That list includes defenseman Shawn Lalonde and forwards Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger, Jeremy Morin and Kyle Beach.

"There are a lot of guys who were in Rockford last year that are going to be eager to push some established guys out of spots, and I think that's a good thing," Bowman said. "I think competition brings out the best in your young players and your veteran guys. When they see there's somebody coming up behind them, they're going to hopefully bring their best effort."

The Hawks will head to camp certain to be one of the five favorites to win the Western Conference along with San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver and Los Angeles.

But the only real goal is to have another parade.

"You look at our team heading into this training camp and I think we have a great chance to repeat what we did a couple years ago," Jonathan Toews said.

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