Toews and Kane are missed, but new Blackhawks leaders are already emerging
Unpacking is one of the first things an athlete does upon arriving for training camp.
It's a similar theme for reporters in that the opening days are filled with so much information we could easily churn out a half-dozen stories.
With that in mind, let's do a little housecleaning from Thursday and Friday at Blackhawks camp:
Gone but not forgotten:
It was a bit strange not seeing Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane on the ice.
Actually, make that awfully strange.
The franchise icons played a combined 2,228 games in Chicago and helped the Hawks lift the Stanley Cup three times. The longest-tenured Hawks now are Connor Murphy (373 games), Philipp Kurashev (191), Seth Jones (150), Mackenzie Entwistle (126), Taylor Raddysh (99) and Tyler Johnson (82).
Murphy believes the atmosphere is similar to when Toews and Kane first broke into the league in 2007.
"It's just fun to see new faces and to have that excitement and hope that everyone has that talent and potential to create something big," Murphy said.
Still, Murphy misses his two pals. The competitiveness they brought to the rink helped make teammates better, and their strong voices carried a lot of weight during the tough times.
"Those guys seemed to have that look in their eye that they wanted to be the ones to step up and get the team out of a tough situation," Murphy said. "There are not many players I've played with who were able to do that so often and to be able to find that extra gear that most guys couldn't.
"On top of that, just their leadership. ... (Toews) echoed a lot of everyone being themselves and making sure they didn't feel they had to hide in the shadows of anyone.
"Coming from Hall of Famers, it means a lot to know they're giving guys the green light to speak out and be comfortable with themselves in the room and be the best player they can be."
'Know the soul':
For just the second time since 1974-75, the Hawks will be without a captain. Connor Murphy agreed with management's decision, noting it would be difficult to follow in Jonathan Toews' footsteps.
There will be plenty of strong voices in the room, however -- with one certainly being veteran forward Nick Foligno. The 35-year-old father of three, who was acquired from Boston in June, intends on doing a deep dive into all of his new teammates.
What makes them tick? What's in their heart? How did they get into hockey? What is their family like?
"Relationships. I'm huge on that," said Foligno, who spent most of his career with Ottawa and Columbus. "That's how you get to know the soul of somebody. And then they end up opening up because they trust you. ...
"Then you get to go war with that person. Now you know when you're in the trenches, 'All right. I know about this guy. I know what makes him work.' ...
"Man, that makes for tough teams to play against -- when you've got every guy that cares so much about one another. ... So we're gonna do a lot of that."
Taylor Hall missed a second straight practice with a lower-body injury Friday. Coach Luke Richardson did not provide any guidance as to how long the forward will be out.
"(We) thought it might be a possibility, but you never know until you get here," Richardson said. "He had something like this last year at Boston, but I don't really know a lot of facts. So we're just waiting to get a little more information and hopefully it's a go."
Hall scored 16 goals in 61 games for the Bruins last season.
Here ... then gone?
Deciding how to bring along 19-year-old defenseman Kevin Korchinski will be among the Hawks' toughest decisions. With Korchinski unable to play in the AHL, he must either stay in the NHL or return to juniors.
GM Kyle Davidson wants to take the long road with young D-men, but this is a tricky situation because Korchinski likely won't develop much playing with 16- to 19-year-olds.
The Hawks could look at Korchinski for nine games, then send him to juniors without burning a year of his contract. It's more likely, however, that Korchinski sticks around until December, plays in World Juniors and the Hawks reevaluate at that point. It's not common, but teams do send players to juniors after the nine-game threshold.
"Nothing's off the table," Davidson said. "We really believe in him. So we're going to make sure that we set the course that is going to put him in the best position long-term to have the best chance to be the player we think he can be."
He said it:
"Waking up and talking to my parents last night about it, it's pretty special. To be here with the fans in this city, it's remarkable. I feel super fortunate. It's definitely a dream right now."
-- Connor Bedard on training camp starting
The Hawks will scrimmage against each other Monday and Tuesday. Coach Luke Richardson is expecting a solid effort but also reminded everyone that they are teammates so don't "run guys into the fourth row."