The party's over

The party is over in Chicago - for now, perhaps.

For the first time since 1961, the Blackhawks finally raised a Stanley Cup banner, ending a party that began with a Patrick Kane's overtime goal in Game 6 over Philadelphia in June, and continued for much of the summer.

There was the requisite raising of the banner to the rafters - names from the last championship team decades ago taking part in the ceremony.

Now, the introduction of the team that will defend the title? That was much different.

Thanks to the salary cap, no more Big Buff.

No more grit from Eager.

Or timely goals from Ladd and Versteeg.

Or more big stops from Niemi.

Maybe it was all the energy expended during the celebration as Chicago fell 4-3 to the rival Detroit Red Wings and dropped to 0-1-1.

Next up, in Kane's hometown of Buffalo on Monday, then Wednesday night back at the United Center against the Nashville Predators, who are expected to start 6-foot-6 rookie netminder Anders Lindback in place of the injured Pekka Rinne.

One other thing from Saturday night ...

The New York Rangers didn't want to rely solely on Marian Gaborik for scoring heading into 2010-11.

It's only one game, but Derek Stepan has stepped up.

The 20-year-old Wisconsin product became only the fourth player in NHL history to debut with a hat trick in a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

"I was just kind of getting my feet wet in my first NHL game. And it was a fun process," Stepan told The Associated Press. "I guess for me, it's just one of those things where you kind of go, 'I guess I got lucky.'"

Gee. Ya think?

Stepan - who was in the lineup due to injuries to Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal - joins Alex Smart (Montreal, 1943), Real Cloutier (Quebec, 1979) and Fabian Brunnstrom (Dallas, 2008).

Stepan also became the second Ranger to score three times in a season opener, joining Ron Murphy (1955).

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