By Brad Gardner
After two consecutive first-round playoff exits, the entire Blackhawks organization has a lot at stake heading into the abbreviated 2013 season. For better or worse, the club entered training camp with a roster that was very similar to the 45-win team from a season ago. The only new additions – defensemen Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank – do not figure to see huge roles during the upcoming season. If the Blackhawks are going to put the last two seasons behind them, they will need bigger contributions from the following groups of players with something to prove this season.
The last time the Blackhawks entered a season with the same goaltending tandem as they utilized the year before was 2007-08, when Nikolai Khabibulin and Patrick Lalime returned to the Chicago crease for a second season together. Both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery will be relied upon to secure wins this season, something that is even more important out of the gate as the skaters get back into game shape and adjust to the breakneck pace of the compacted schedule.