DALLAS -- The Chicago Blackhawks hope to hit the ground running when they open the 2011-12 regular season Friday night in Dallas against the Stars.
"It's always a great feeling this time of year," winger Patrick Sharp said following the Hawks' morning skate American Airline Center. "There's excitement in the room. Everyone's looking forward to getting off to a good start. We've talked abut how important that is. Enough practice, enough playing against each other--we're ready to go at it."
Patrick Kane will make his debut as a center after shifting from right wing to play in the middle on a line with Andrew Brunette and Marian Hossa.
"It's a lot different than the last couple (of seasons) where I've been pretty much familiar with my position," Kane said. "I'm still kind of learning this one and feeling it out a bit. I think we have a good mindset going into it, our whole line, as to how we play in our own end. Whn we get the puck it's just kind of play hockey and not worry about positions. Hopefully, it's one those things where I'm lining up at center but playing my own game."
Speaking of debuts, 18-year-old Brandon Saad will play in his first NHL game and will play on a line with Sharp and center Jonathan Toews. Saad made the team following a strong training camp.
Fellow rookie Brandon Pirri will start at center on the third line, replacing Dave Bolland, who is out with an upper-body injury. The Hawks will dress seven defensemen, with John Scott the lone healthy scratch.
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