When Patrick Sharp walked into the Blackhawks’ first day of training camp last week with the Stanley Cup, he wasn’t gloating, just genuinely confused. Many Hawks players were caught off-guard – and mid-celebration – by the 2013-14 NHL season starting on time.

“I was over at Wrigley enjoying my usual on-the-house Stanley Cup full of Old Style when I was told there was a practice or something?” said Sharp. “So I ran right over. Well … finished what was left. Then took a cab.”

Many players, including Sharp, were convinced that there were still several months to go in the offseason. Some had commitments that were difficult to get out of. Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger, for example, were away at a summer camp for “exceptional children.”

Joel Quenneville, who did an interview in a tie and beach shorts, was tasked with rounding everybody up.

“I called Corey [Crawford] to see where he was at and he said that he still had a massive headache. He was drinking Alka-Seltzer and ginger ale and catching up on Breaking Bad,” said Quenneville. “He was the easiest to find. But then I realized that Kaner probably knows which bars every player on the team frequents. He had no problem hitting them all in one night.”

The Blackhawks will begin preseason play as soon as the Zamboni driver, equipment managers and other United Center employees return from a work retreat in Cabo San Lucas.

Bandwagon Dan