ZURICH – The Chicago Blackhawks arrived in Zurich with their charter plane on Saturday at 15:50. The team and entourage left Chicago immediately following their 4-3 exhibition win against the Minnesota Wild.
The Blackhawks stood on the ice at the practice rink in Zurich already two hours after landing. Chicago will play HC Davos on Monday (exhibition) and the ZSC Lions Zurich on Tuesday for the Victoria Cup at Zurich’s Hallenstadion.
Goalkeeper Cristobal Huet is looking forward to his stay in Switzerland where he played before signing with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
“My parents and friends who don’t have the chance to see NHL hockey will have the opportunity to see me play, so I needed many tickets,” said Huet, who grew up in the French city of Grenoble, about 350 kilometres away from Zurich. “But unfortunately I won’t have so much time to see them.”
Huet was not fatigued by the practice so short after the landing. “I think it was good. We want to be tired tonight and have a good sleep,” he explained.
“The next couple of days are pretty important. We need to hydrate and come back to our schedule,” said Patrick Kane. “We enjoy the experience and to see new countries. For some guys it’s the first time in Europe. I also don’t know much about Switzerland but I played against the Swiss at the World Juniors.”
Jonathan Toews is in the country for the first time. “It’s my first day in Switzerland and it’s been fun. Now I’m looking forward to the games,” he said after the first practice at Kunsteisbahn Oerlikon, which does not resemble a normal North American practice rink. “It’s a nice rink with these huge windows.”
Prior to their flight to Europe, the Blackhawks claimed Czech winger Radek Smolenak off waivers from Tampa Bay. Their active roster consists now of three goalkeepers, eight defencemen and 18 forwards.
MARTIN MERK29-man roster of the Chicago Blackhawks
Goalkeepers: Corey Crawford, Cristobal Huet, Antti Niemi.
Defencemen: Cam Barker, Brian Campbell, Jordan Hendry, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, Aaron Johnson, Brent Seabrook, Brent Sopel.
Forwards: Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland, Evan Brophey, Troy Brouwer, Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Dowell, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Patrick Kane, Rob Klinkenhammer, Tomas Kopecky, Andrew Ladd, John Madden, Patrick Sharp, Radek Smolenak, Jack Skille, Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg.
Injured reserve: Adam Burish, Marian Hossa.The Chicago Blackhawks arrive at Zurich airport. Photo: Dominik Zabel / hockeyfans.ch