Start practicing your celebratory first pumps, the Blackhawks are back. Yay! With the NHL lockout finally over, Chicago's hockey team will being its season in the vaunted Madhouse on Madison. This calls for a celebration.
Because of the lockout, this will be a short, 48-game regular season that only features Western Conference opponents. But classic rivalries will be renewed as the Hawks chase the Stanley Cup (and, admittedly, are poised to compete).
Click here for the full 2013 Blackhawks schedule.
Many of the core players from the Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup team return this season. Captain Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, who struggled through concussion issues at the end of last season and into the playoffs, are both back on the ice and ready for action.
Patrick Kane, who spent some of the lockout playing in Europe, is back in Chicago with his teammates, and will join Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland as the Hawks bring one of the more potent offenses in the league back to the ice.
Last season, some young players stepped into the lineup when veteran Blackhawks missed time because of injuries. Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Brandon Bollig could all figure prominently into the coming season.
Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook return to lead a deep group of defensemen that will again include Nick Leddy, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya.
Coach Joel Quenneville won't be asked to face any Eastern Conference opponents this season, but the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and defending champion Los Angeles Kings are among the star-studded teams that will visit Chicago.