Heading into a new season just months after winning the Stanley Cup -- and all the accompanying hoopla surrounding it -- seemed to some like a recipe for a Cup hangover this season.
Not to the Blackhawks.
"Going into the season we had the feeling that we're going to be fine, that wasn't going to be an issue," coach Joel Quenneville said.
"We've gotten off to a relatively good start (5-1-2), and I just think the guys prepared themselves the right way and the focus has been in the right area -- and that's on the ice."
That's because the veteran leadership on the team has deemed last season a definite non-topic.
"We don't talk about last year at all," Michal Handzus said. "We said before training camp it was time to close that book and open a new one, and that's exactly what we did.
"Last year was last year, and this year is this year.
"I think one of our guys described it best when he said let's get that banner ceremony over and just start a new season."
Coming and going:
In an effort to get him more playing time and refine his skills, fourth-line winger Joakim Nordstrom was sent to Rockford on Sunday. In eight games, Nordstrom, 21, scored 1 goal, that coming Oct. 11 against the Islanders.
"This gets him more quality ice time, more rotations, some penalty kill," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Hopefully he can get that and keep going."
Nordstrom's departure seems to open the door for Ben Smith, who has 1 goal and 1 assist in four games and is plus-2.
"Just looking forward to Tuesday and the chance to play," Smith said. "Every chance to play is an opportunity.
"You never want to be scratched, but that's just part of it. The hope is that you work your way out of those situations and become an everyday player."
Smith skated with Brandon Bollig and Brandon Pirri on the fourth line during practice Monday at Johnny's Ice House.
"Benny has played pretty well in the games he's played," Quenneville said.
The Blackhawks premiere of their 2013 Stanley Cup championship movie, "17 Seconds," at the Navy Pier IMAX Theatre will be held Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m.
Produced by Blackhawks TV and Banner Collective, the hourlong feature takes fans inside the dramatic end to Game 6 that culminated in the Blackhawks' second Stanley Cup in four seasons with never-before-seen footage of the celebrations following the victory.
"17 Seconds" will be included in Blackhawks Publishing's upcoming hardcover book, "One Goal II," which can be preordered now via chicagoblackhawks.com and will be available at all Blackhawks Store locations in mid-November.
Mix and match:
He already has been paired with Sheldon Brookbank, Michael Kostka and Michael Rozsival.
Most people would say all that switching around of defensive partners must be a tough thing for Nick Leddy, but the Hawks defenseman sees it a little differently.
"To be honest, it's probably harder on them then it is on me," he said. "Playing one game and then not playing every night -- that's probably harder for them."
What was that?
Heads turned toward the end of practice when Bryan Bickell and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin ended up sprawled on the ice after Bickell had skated in for a shootout goal.
"I scored and he tripped me," Bickell said with a smile.
"Oh, yeah," he said. "I was just playing it up."
Moms nights out:
Many of the players' moms were at practice Monday at Johnny's Ice House as they prepared to join their sons on their two-game road trip to Florida.
"It's fun bringing the moms on these trips," Patrick Kane said. "That's one of the perks of being a Blackhawk and being part of this organization -- you get to be a part of these special things."
Added Andrew Shaw: "You always want to impress your mom and make her proud of you. So expect two hard-played games."