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Preseason Game #1: Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

Hockey is back. Rejoice, hockey fans everywhere.

OK, so it's only the first pre-season game, and it won't be on TV, and chances are you won't recognize a lot of the players that will be getting a bulk of the ice time. Still, it's hockey at the United Center and the real games aren't far off at all, and we get to see how some of this team's prospects have progressed at this point.

Comcast Sportsnet reported on Monday night that this game is nearly sold out, just 200 seats available in fact. Yes, you read that correctly, this pre-season game will likely be sold out by game time. I think last year most of the games saw 7 or 8,000 fans at the most. My, how things have changed for the better.

The Hawks lineup has been posted, and you can see that there will be no Jonathan Toews or Martin Havlat playing in this one. Patrick Kane is on the top line with Patrick Sharp and Petri Kontiola, who is at center. Look for Kontiola to try to prove something tonight. He's trying to earn a spot on this team and convince the Hawks that they made the right move by trading Robert Lang. Playing with Kane and Sharp is an opportunity he needs to use to his advantage. Corey Crawford will be in goal with Joseph Fallon backing him up.

Denis Savard mentioned in an interview that he has "changed some things" from last year. Hopefully we will notice some of those changes tonight, even if it's to a small extent.