Chicago Blackhawks' trip down memory lane
No matter how long a player's career lasts there's always something special about a home opener.
In the Chicago Blackhawks' case, they literally roll out the red carpet beforehand and introduce the entire roster to thousands of adoring fans outside the United Center. That scene will play out Thursday at 5 p.m. before the Hawks take on San Jose.
Some openers obviously stand out more than others. So on the eve of this one, I thought it would be fun to see which ones are etched into the minds of some of the Hawks' veterans.
So without further adieu:
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Jonathan Toews and Connor Murphy both chose the Hawks' dominating 10-1 victory over the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017.
Once Ryan Hartman scored at 6:21 of the first period, it seemed like anything and everything found its way past Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray.
Patrick Kane's 4-point night included a goal from a nearly impossible angle and a did-you-see that spin-o-rama pass that resulted in 1 of Nick Schmaltz's 2 goals.
Brandon Saad ended up with a hat trick, Hartman racked up a whopping 4 assists, and Patrick Sharp scored in his return to Chicago.
"I remember after the game Kaner and these guys weren't even really that pumped about it," said Murphy, who was traded to the Hawks that off-season. "They were like, 'All right. Yeah, that's another one.'
"And I was like, 'Is this the way it's going to be here?' My mind was thinking that that was just the Blackhawk way -- you score 10 goals and no one's even that excited.
"If I was in Arizona and that happened, everyone would have been like, 'UNBELIEVABLE!' "
Toews managed just 1 assist and was happy he "didn't get completely skunked."
"It felt like we were going to win the Cup that year," Toews said. "It was the defending Cup champs and we went and spanked 'em 10-1 in our own building. Got everyone going, got everyone confident. And then it was all downhill from there."
The Hawks, who lost Corey Crawford to a concussion in late December, finished in last place in the Central Division with a record of 33-39-10.
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Patrick Kane went with the first home opener of his career, a 4-3 shootout victory over Detroit on Oct. 6, 2007.
"That was my first point in the NHL," said Kane, who now has 941 points in 904 games. "Got an assist on a Tuomo Ruutu goal."
That tally trimmed the Red Wings' lead to 2-1. Detroit restored its 2-goal advantage just 72 seconds later, but third-period goals by James Wisniewski and Robert Lang sent the game to overtime tied at 3-3.
Nobody scored in the extra session, giving Kane a chance to play hero in the shootout.
"Savvy (coach Denis Savard) ended up calling me to go first," Kane said. "Went down on (Dominik) Hasek and scored. That was like my first goal in the NHL, if you want to call it that.
"So that was a pretty cool home opener for me."
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The three banner-raising ceremonies this decade are easy choices for any player who helped the Hawks win the Stanley Cup during those seasons. So it's certainly no surprise that Corey Crawford and Andrew Shaw chose the 2013 and 2015 home openers as their most memorable.
"They were both pretty special," said Crawford, who went a combined 29-13 with a 2.05 goals-against average during those two postseasons. "It just gives you those feelings of what you went through and all the games you played, all the tough moments.
"And that feeling when it's all over. After all that hard work you get to lift the Stanley Cup. It's just a good reminder when the banner's going up."
Scouting reportBlackhawks vs. San Jose Sharks at United Center, 7:30 p.m.
TV: NBC SportsChicago
Radio: WGN 720-AM
The skinny: San Jose, which advanced to the Western Conference finals last season, is 0-4-0 and has been outscored 17-5. The Sharks' latest loss was a 5-2 setback at Nashville on Tuesday. It was the first game of the season for forward Evander Kane, who was suspended for the first three contests. ... The Sharks signed 39-year-old veteran Patrick Marleau to a one-year deal Tuesday. He spent the first 19 years of his career in San Jose and the last two in Toronto, where he scored 43 goals and dished out 41 assists. Marleau has played in 788 straight games, the sixth-longest streak in NHL history.
Next: Winnipeg Jets at United Center, 6 p.m. Saturday