Second City Hockey, State of the Blog: Welcome to the 2014-15 season

It's time for the 2014-15 Blackhawks season! Let's have an Internet party!

Happy Opening Night, everyone!

While the 2014-15 NHL season technically began Wednesday with several games, the Chicago Blackhawks hit the ice Thursday night for their season opener against the Dallas Stars. A lot has changed since the Hawks were eliminated from the postseason back in June, both for the franchise and the blog, and I quickly wanted to cover that with you guys while reminding everyone what this is ultimately about: HAVING FUN!

So if you're somewhat new here, or have been around even longer than me (which is probably most of you), let's delve into what things should look like this season here at SCH:

New Writers

I'm not the only one here, I swear!

The honorable Randy Holt has been with me since Day 1 here as a staff writer, and I'm sure you guys are familiar with everything he's done so far. We've also added several other writers, some of whom have already posted -- Brandon Cain, Amy Lilek and Ryan Stimson -- and we'll be rolling out new folks in the coming days and weeks.

Brandon and Amy will be helping with game coverage, news stories and the like, while Ryan is going to be contributing his passing stats series throughout the year. You might be familiar with Brandon and Ryan from their work with a pair of other SBN blogs, The Champaign Room and In Lou We Trust, respectively. Amy has also been online at Sports Illustrated's Home Ice NHL blog, and I'm excited to have the three of them (among others) aboard.

I'm not entirely familiar with how games were covered back when Greg was in charge, but I can't imagine there will be too many major changes. We'll still be previewing, recapping and live-tweeting every game, and do our best to provide some unique insight in the process.

One thing we don't have, unfortunately, is a press credential from the team. While many other SBN blogs have gotten press access, we were not able to apply for credentials with the Blackhawks in time for the season, and probably won't be able to attend games beyond the usual "Hey, I bought a ticket like a real person" routine. I don't know if this is something I'll be able to address during the season, but I'm committed to getting SCH writers into the press box eventually.

Beyond the games, we'll also be having a number of weekly series this season, including Ryan's passing stats series and a weekly check-in with the team's top prospects from Brandon. Our staff may not be as big as some other SBN blogs at this point, but we're going to do our best to provide you pretty much everything you need to feel smarter than your friends.

Community guidelines and moderation

We haven't really had issues with this since I came aboard, but I just wanted to reiterate some things to keep it that way. Second City Hockey has one of the most active communities among SBN NHL blogs, and I love being able to brag about how kickass you guys all are.

That means we need to keep kicking ass, and there's no better way to do that than being welcoming and respectful of others, right? We've already seen significantly more readers over the past month than we did during the same period last year, and as the blog grows, every new reader should feel as comfortable and welcomed as the last one. We're all here to have fun and discuss hockey, after all, so keep that in mind when you decide to hit the comments after having a bad day (which we all have).

Our community guidelines are listed here, and they're not too complicated. It seems like pretty much everyone knows what to do at this point -- again, I'm basically getting this out of the way now so we (hopefully) don't need to talk about it again any time soon.

We have some great moderators who help out here, and this whole experience becomes more positive for everyone when they're not forced to sit around dealing with silly arguments and blatant trolling. I think we can pretty much all agree on that.

One last thing

Above all else, I'm incredibly excited to spend this season covering the team with you all. This is the first time I've ever managed a blog after graduating college back in May, and I've already learned a lot that will hopefully make SCH better than it's ever been. With that said, I won't deny that I'm still discovering better ways of doing things every day, and if you ever have any feedback for me or the blog in general, feel free to email me personally or fire me a message on Twitter. I don't want this to be a one-way conversation, and it certainly doesn't need to be.

So again, thanks for reading this season, I'm looking forward to every yelp, facepalm, chugged beer, and nail-biter. This should be a blast.

Oh, and I almost forgot: GO BLACKHAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!