How popular are the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks?
A sellout crowd of more than 18,000 will pack the United Center Saturday for the first day of training camp as part of the Hawks' training camp festival.
"I've never heard of a sold-out practice anywhere," Hawks winger Troy Brouwer said. "The city has got this huge embrace on us and we're thankful for it."
Fans will get to watch two practice sessions and two scrimmages. Coach Joel Quenneville will wear a live microphone during the practice sessions.
"It's crazy to think that many fans want to come out to watch a practice or watch Coach Q with a microphone and hear what he has to say," Patrick Kane said. "It shows how Blackhawk crazy the fans are here in Chicago. The Blackhawks are pretty popular in the city right now and I think it's cool."
Goalie Marty Turco joked that he might be a little nervous having to stop pucks for the first time in a live scrimmage with 18,000 people watching him.
"We've been doing goalie drills mostly so instead of easing into it, it's kind of jumpstarting right into facing those shots," Turco said. "With 18,000 people coming you realize how special things are in this city at the moment."
Huet update: Goalie Cristobal Huet is not at training camp and within the next few weeks will be officially loaned by the Hawks to a team in the Swiss pro league.
"We're still working out the details," general manager Stan Bowman said. "There's just some timing rules with the league as to when you can assign players. He has to clear waivers to be assigned so we have to wait until that comes. We've had discussions with a team in Europe and it's all ready to go."
The Hawks still must pay Huet's $5.6 million salary this year and next, but it won't count against the cap.
Next in line: Defenseman Brent Seabrook is entering the final year of his contract and Stan Bowman hopes to start negotiations on a new contract sooner than later.
Seabrook will be paid $3.5 million this season and is in line for a considerable bump.
"Now that we've gotten through the summer with the changes we had to make we're going to start to look at that," Bowman said. "You're always trying to look ahead.
"Obviously Brent has been a great player since we drafted him and is a big part of our team."
Moving on: The theme among the players at media day on Friday was looking ahead to defending the Stanley Cup and not looking back at all the changes that took place during the off-season.
"We're past all that," Troy Brouwer said. "As soon as the season starts we're going to raise our banner, give the Stanley Cup back to the league, then try and win it again."