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Unlike last year, Blackhawks fans will be in celebratory mood

Fans cheer along parade route as buses carrying Stanley Cup champiChicago Blackhawks passes Chicago Friday June 28 2013. The Blackhawks

Fans cheer along the parade route as buses carrying the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks passes in Chicago, Friday, June 28, 2013. The Blackhawks celebrate the team's second championship in four years. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: August 27, 2013 6:36AM



Last year’s Blackhawks Convention wasn’t so much a celebration as it was an investigation. The story lines were clear, and they weren’t terribly pleasant: What would Patrick Kane say about his infamous trip to Madison? How far along was Marian Hossa in his recovery from a severe concussion? How was Corey Crawford handling another first-round playoff loss and the Hawks’ dalliance with free agent Martin Brodeur?

One year and one Stanley Cup later, this year’s convention — which begins Friday afternoon at the Hilton Chicago and runs through Sunday — should be decidedly more upbeat.

“It’s going to be fun,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “The convention is going to bring a lot of excitement. The fans are going to be definitely looking forward to seeing the guys.

‘‘The guys will have fun getting back together again — I’m sure there will be a lot of smiles.”

There’s been plenty to smile about this offseason. It has been turmoil-free, as the Hawks have had little trouble keeping their championship roster largely intact, unlike in 2010.

Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik and Daniel Carcillo were traded away to clear salary-cap and roster space, Ray Emery (who signed with the Flyers) was replaced with Nikolai Khabibulin, and the Hawks re-signed Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy, Marcus Kruger, Michal Handzus and Michal Rozsival. So the training-camp roster is pretty much set, and the expectations for 2013-14, which opens Oct. 1 against the Washington Capitals, are as high as they’ve ever been.

But before the Hawks look ahead to next season, they’ll have one more weekend to look back on the last one.



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