The Chicago Blackhawks ARE BACK.
At the practice rink.
As the NHL creeps closer to the return to action, what is being called “Phase 2” of the return to play plan is underway for some teams. Players are beginning to return to there respective practice facilities for voluntary workouts as they prepare for the 24-team playoff return to play format.
The Blackhawks were last in action on March 11 at the United Center, downing the San Jose Sharks 6-2 before the NHL suspended play on March 12. The league has been out of action since then, having unveiled their 24-team return to play format recently as the NHL looks to properly finish the 2019-20 season and postseason.
🚨 IT'S HAPPENING 🚨
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 10, 2020
The Blackhawks are set to face the Edmonton Oilers in a best-of-five play-in series when the league does return to action. As the fifth-seed in the Western Conference, the Oilers are led by two of the top players in the NHL in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. This season, the Blackhawks held a 2-1-0 record over the Oilers with 3-1 and 4-3 wins in October and March, with both happening at the United Center. The loss was a 5-3 decision on the road in Edmonton in February.
Heading into their best-of-five play-in series against the Oilers, the Blackhawks have the second-lowest odds to win the Stanley Cup at +7500, according to William Hill. Only the Montreal Canadiens have worse odds at +10000, with the Boston Bruins at +500 and Vegas Golden Knights at +600 leading the Eastern and Western Conferences.
UPDATE: Following Wednesday’s return to the ice, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to a July 10 start date for “Phase 3” of the league’s plan to return to on ice action. “Phase 3” sets all team training camps to begin on July 10, and if all goes to plan, the NHL could be looking at a return to action some time in early August.
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) June 11, 2020
The NHL has yet to announce dates for the Stanley Cup play-in round and the Stanley Cup Playoffs to begin.