February 24, 2013
Red Hot Chicago Blackhawks a good measuring stick for Oilers

Chicago Blackhawks right winger Marian Hossa (81), Jonathan Toews (19) and defenceman Johnny Oduya (27) celebrate with goalie Ray Emery (30) after their game against the San Jose Sharks in Chicago, Feb. 22. The Blackhawks won the game 2-1 to set an all-time record for the most wins to start a season without losing a game. (Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

The Chicago Blackhawks are the team the Edmonton Oilers eventually want to become.

And the distance the Oilers need to travel to get there, may be determined Monday in Chicago.

The Oilers are going up against the class of the NHL in their first game of a marathon nine-game road trip. They’ll have a return engagement on the back half of the trip.

“To play the best team in the National Hockey League right off the bat is exciting for us,” said Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger. “We feel we’ve put together pieces of our game and we’ve like the growth and development of our team and we’re going to find out where we’re at right away.

“It’ll be a great measuring stick for our defence and also for our offensive potential. We feel extremely confident that we’re going to give them a difficult night and we’re going to do everything to go in there and try to win.”