(Photo: Steve Lundy/DailyHerald.com)

The Blackhawks opened their preseason with a sellout Training Camp Festival at the United Center Monday night, complete with a scrimmage leading to a series of team cuts.

The first “cuts” happened on ice to two major players–Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane–who happened to take a high-stick and a puck to the face amidst all the action.

But the other cuts trimmed the roster to 46. The team sent goaltenders Mac Carruth and Kent Simpson, and released forwards Ryan Schnell, and defensemen Kirill Gotovets, Justin Holl and Zach Miskovic all to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

This leaves the team’s active roster with 26 forwards, 16 defensemen and four goaltenders. Team White, led by Captain Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Sharp, faced off against Team Red, with Kane, Brandon Saad, and (for the opening period) Corey Crawford, for the scrimmage.

Jeremy Morin, inspiration of the Twitter #FreeMorin campaign for more ice time last season, struck first to give Team White a 1-0 lead. Ben Smith assisted on the goal.

Drew LeBlanc played the puck to Hossa who passed to Toews, who tallied a second goal for the White Team.

And, during second intermission, the same song was played for all three Shoot the Puck contestants, showing the Blackhawks stayed true to their word that organist Frank Pellico would no longer be playing “The Stripper” for female contestants.

 

Another change came as well–the female shooter was wearing reasonable shoes on the ice and looked noticeably different from many of the past contestants. Dressed in jeans, flats, and even a Blackhawks shirt, she seemed more like the rest of the fans in the crowd.

In fact, the Ice Crew even wore different uniforms–black shorts with black long-sleeved shirts.

Ben Smith passed to Marcus Kruger to give the White Team a 3-0 lead. Morin earned another assist in the scoring play.

Shortly after, the Red Team got on the board, when Cam Barker scored on a pass from Brandon Saad. Barker has taken some heat from fans recently after a clean check during camp at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., has left Teuvo Teravainen out day-to-day with an upper-body injury. (Barker has played for the Hawks before–with his last games in 2009-2010.)

Kruger answered Barker’s goal, giving the White Team a 4-1 lead.

With 2:44 left in the game, the Red Team pulled their goalie for the man advantage, but they were unable to capitalize.

Mark McNeill scored an empty-netter, making the final score 5-1. Along with Crawford, the following goalies played: Scott Darling and Mac Carruth (Red Team) and Antti Raanta, Kent Simpson, and Michael Leighton (White Team).

With the United Center sold out and an exciting game of Blackhawks playing against the Blackhawks, fans could relax and enjoy knowing that, for that moment, everyone was a winner.

Hawks photo

That is, until the team has to settle their $2.2 million dollar salary surplus. But, for now, the team will take on longtime rivals to start the preseason.

The Blackhawks open their preseason at 7:30 p.m. CT tonight in Chicago against the Detroit Red Wings. Teravainen and Joakim Nordstrom will be sitting out with their upper-body injuries.

“Guys like playing real games, and when I say real games, real exhibition games,” head coach Joel Quenneville told Comcast Sportsnet. “It’s nice to see the crowd here (last night) and then it’s a comparable setting tonight. Detroit’s here, and everyone’s excited to see (the Red Wings). It’s a good opportunity against these guys. I watched some of the games last night. Very intense for preseason games.”

A roster will be set for the regular season’s Oct. 9 start in Dallas.

Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.

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