Bryan Bickell sees the Blackhawks as a Stanley Cup contender.
"Definitely," Bickell said. "We have a good squad. We have a great depth throughout our lines. I think our team, when we're on our 'A' game, it's going be hard to beat us. We just need to have a good start and go from there."
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If the Hawks have a heavy load of road games early, which is expected because of the ice show taking over the United Center next week, Bickell thinks it's to their advantage.
"Do some team bonding on the road," Bickell said. "All the guys enjoy being together, goofing around and that kind of stuff like that. Just to get some chemistry and to get to know everybody. I haven't seen these guys in four months.
"Every game's going to be important. It's going to be good to have the home games late, because it might come down to that."
The full NHL schedule is expected to be released this weekend after the players conclude their vote on ratifying the new collective bargaining agreement, it's signed off on and takes effect.
Michal Frolik liked what he saw from his teammates Friday at their final informal practice at Johnny's IceHouse West.
"The pace was very good," Frolik said. "The guys who were here early said the pace was getting better and better, so I think we're ready for the start and everybody seems good. We are excited for the start."
Corey on the hot seat:
Nobody needs to remind goalie Corey Crawford that he needs to have a big bounce-back season if the Hawks are going to contend.
"I feel like I kind of need to redeem myself a little bit," Crawford said.
The last time Hawks fans saw Crawford, he allowed 2 soft goals in overtime in Games 3 and 4 against Phoenix in the first round.