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David Kampf Jersey

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In a back and forth competition with the Wild on Sunday at the United Center, the Blackhawks broke their losing streak with a 5-3 victory.

Chicago regained traction on the power-play, which had scored in five straight games before Saturday’s game against the Blues, and Patrick Kane added a hat trick.

Robin Lehner made 23 saves on 26 shots and Brandon Saad and David Kampf added the other two goals.
How it happened

The Blackhawks began the scoring a little less than eight minutes into the game, as Kane got the puck over the goal line, although it took a replay to prove it. His first chance was denied, but he was able to collect the rebound and put it over the line.

Kane’s first tally was the first goal the Blackhawks have scored this season through replay.

Less than four minutes later, Kane would score on the power play to put the Blackhawks up two.

A nice give-and-go play with Jonathan Toews and a great keep-in move from Dylan Strome helped to give the Blackhawks some padding on their lead, but Kane’s shot seals it.

Kirby Dach would almost immediately take a hooking penalty after Kane’s second goal, however, putting Minnesota on their power play, which had been on a 0-for-18 streak prior to this game. Eric Staal scored, point number 1000 on his career, to make it a 2-1 game.

Both Mats Zuccarello and Jason Zucker would leave the game over the course of the first period, Zucker after blocking a slapshot from Brent Seabrook. Both would be back in the game by the end of the period, however.

In the second period, Kevin Fiala scored less than two minutes in, as Kane had a shot blocked by Ryan Suter, and Olli Maatta could not catch Fiala on the breakaway at 4-on-4 (Toews and Jordan Greenway were sitting for coinciding penalties).

David Kampf would get the lead back for the Blackhawks, however, scoring on a deflection off of a Connor Murphy shot during a delayed penalty.

The goal is Kampf’s fifth of the season, a new career high for the third-year pro. Kampf missed 55 games combined between the 2017-18 and 18-19 seasons.

Fiala would even the game back up before the second period was out, as what was meant to be a pass deflected off of Maatta’s skate and into the net. Not a good period from him. Ryan Suter had assists on all three of the Wild’s goals.

In the third period, the two sides would trade shots and opportunities, but it would take Brandon Saad deflecting another Murphy shot into the net for the Blackhawks to break the tie.

That’s the first third-period go-ahead goal for the Blackhawks this season, as well as Saad’s third in two days, and it sparked a much-needed victory.

Kane would score the empty-net goal to get his eighth career hat trick, providing the 5-3 score.

The Blackhawks played a much better game against the Wild than they did against the Blues, with a 48.98 percent shot share and 58.82 percent high-danger share. The Blackhawks played two periods where they had shot advantages in the first and third as well.

Glenn Hall Jersey

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When hockey collectors discuss the game’s greatest goalies, there are names that naturally pop up like Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Patrick Roy, and Martin Brodeur. Their place in hockey history is undeniable, but there is one amazing talent that seems to get lost in the shuffle despite being arguably the best in the game during the 1960s – Glenn Hall.

Why hasn’t the hobby given Hall the respect he rightfully deserves? The answer to that question is rather complex, but perhaps it is time for collectors to elevate his status and consider what the man known as “Mr. Goalie” contributed on the ice and beyond.

A native of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Hall played for the local club before joining the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires as an 18-year-old in 1949-50. Part of the Detroit Red Wings organization after signing a C-form as a youth, he played in an era where an NHL team owned his rights from an early age. After two seasons in Windsor, he jumped from the junior ranks to the American Hockey League with the Indianapolis Capitols. His 1951-52 campaign was a rough one with 40 losses, but he was still rising within the Red Wings chain – with only Sawchuk standing in his way of a starting role.

Well, the problem at the time was that Sawchuk was firmly entrenched as Detroit’s top man in the crease as the club won three Stanley Cup titles in a four season span between 1951-52 and 1954-55. Hall was called up for his first NHL stint in 1952-53 while Sawchuk was injured, but was sent back down after seven solid games. Sadly, Parkhurst did not make a card of him around this time. It should also be noted that since he was called up to Detroit’s roster for the 1952 Stanley Cup Final, his name was etched onto the Stanley Cup despite not hitting the ice.
Big League Debut

By 1955-56, Hall’s readiness for the NHL could not be denied and the tempermental Sawchuk had been traded to the Boston Bruins. He immediately took over as the team’s starter and blew everyone away with a league-leading 12 shutouts on the way to a spot on the Second All-Star Team and the Calder Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year. Appearing in all 70 games, he also kicked off an impressive streak for consecutive appearances that would make hockey history.

The only problem for hockey card-loving kids at the time was the fact that Parkhurst had scaled back to only featuring the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs that year and Topps went on a two-year hiatus. With no hockey cards at all in 1956-57, young fans were despondent and thankfully, both companies were back soon.
Welcome to the Windy City

In those days, Topps hockey card sets were made up of the four American-based clubs and Hall was included – but now as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks (then called the Black Hawks). Why would the Red Wings trade away one of the best young players in the game? Well, that is a bit of a crazy story. Around this time, several players, including Hall’s Red Wings teammate Ted Lindsay, attempted to start a Players’ Association and it was ultimately squashed by team owners.

In the weeks and months that followed, a large portion of the league’s players switched jerseys and Hall was on the move to the Windy City along with Lindsay for four players. The move immediately gave Chicago plenty of leadership and strength in goal – coinciding nicely with the club adding more prospects like Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Ken Wharram.

Since Hall’s rookie card features an airbrushed shot in his new jersey, which is typical for 1957-58 Topps. The original photo with him in a Red Wings uniform was used in the 1993-94 Parkhurst Missing Link series which was an imagining of what the company’s unreleased 1956-57 set might have looked like. Hall’s debut cardboard is one of the most underrated of the decade as it does not seem to get as much love when compared to the rookie card of Plante and is on par with those of Gump Worsley and Johnny Bower in the minds of many collectors. The 1957-58 Topps set is plagued with poor centering as well, making high-grade copies incredibly difficult to find.

Hall’s first season with Chicago was rough as he lost 39 times, but he was rewarded with a spot on the NHL’s First All-Star Team. The team returned to the playoffs in 1958-59 and he was at his best two years later as the club captured its first Stanley Cup crown since 1937-38. He played a crucial part in getting the team past the Montreal Canadiens in the first round – a remarkable feat as the Habs had won a record five straight titles. Facing Gordie Howe and many of his former Red Wings teammates in the Stanley Cup Final, he prevailed in a high-scoring six-game affair.

For the next six seasons, Hall was arguably the most consistent and influential goalie in the game. Young goalies everywhere were emulating his style thanks to national television broadcasts of NHL games and he was featured in more than just hockey cards. Naturally, his Shirriff hockey coins were coveted, but there were also Beehive photos and El Producto discs that were certainly playing a key role in schoolyard trades.

When it comes to Hall’s regular issue cards during the Black Hawks years, there is one that truly stands out. The 1964-65 Topps card shows him holding a mask – and this appears to be the first time that type of protection appeared on a hockey card. However, this mask looks to be something he wore in practice as he never wore one in action until a few years later. The 1961-62 Topps action card called Bathgate Bangs One In also shows Hall, but he is being scored on by fellow superstar Andy Bathgate.

During Hall’s tenure with Chicago, he set an impossible-to-break record as he appeared in his 502nd consecutive game early in 1962-63. The notoriously nervous netminder, who threw up before every game due to nerves, soldiered on through the 1960s and regularly protected the net during the NHL All-Star Game. He appeared in that event on 13 occasions – more than any other goalie ever. He regularly led his peers in shutouts and even though save percentage was not an official stat during this era, historical records show that he was tops in that department in 1956-57 and 1962-63 – the latter being the first year that he won the Vezina Trophy.

Before 1981-82, the Vezina was handed out to the goalie or tandem that had the lowest goals-against average in the league. He went to the Stanley Cup Final again in 1962 (vs. Toronto) and 1965 (vs. Montreal), but the game was starting to change by the middle of the decade as tandems began to be implemented by teams.

In Chicago, Hall’s partner in net was Denis DeJordy and the duo helped the Black Hawks to their first regular season crown in 1966-67. At the time, there was a claim that the club’s original coach, Pete Muldoon, had put a curse on the club after being fired following their inaugural campaign on 1926-27. A total fabrication, it at least made for a good story and the duo went home with the Vezina.
Singing the Blues

With the Original Six era ending and the NHL expanding to 12 teams, the new clubs were able to select unprotected players from the rosters of established clubs. Perhaps feeling that Hall was in his twilight, he was exposed in the expansion draft and was scooped up by the St. Louis Blues.

Even though he was not ready to call it quits, Hall had a history of holding out at the beginning of the season in order to secure a better contract from his team and have some time to paint his barn. He did get the Blues to agree to a deal soon after the 1967-68 season began and he shared the crease with former Team Canada star Seth Martin. It should be noted that Martin also made fiberglass masks for his fellow goalies and Hall was happy to be one of his customers once he decided to start wearing one regularly on the ice.

The 1967-68 Topps set, though, did not feature expansion teams – likely due to timing and a lack of available photos. This meant that Hall would not get a basic card, but he was paired up with DeJordy on a Vezina Trophy winners card and was in the All-Star Team subset.

Despite a losing record that year, he was counted upon to take the club far into the playoffs. St. Louis eliminated the first place Philadelphia Flyers and the Minnesota North Stars before battling the Canadiens for Lord Stanley’s Mug. Hall was brilliant in this series, keeping each contest within one goal despite being swept in four games. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP.

Heading into 1968-69, the Blues lured Hall’s longtime rival, Plante, out of retirement and created one of the greatest tandems in hockey history. Despite having radically different personalities and the fact that Plante often alienated himself from teammates, the pair gave up just 157 goals on the way to finishing first in the West Division and winning the Vezina. Plante took the lead in the playoffs and they were swept once again by the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final and he chose to retire.

Eventually returning to action in 1969-70, the duo were runners-up in the Vezina race, but another first-place finish was in the books. For the second straight season, Hall’s cards in the O-Pee-Chee sets used older photos from his Black Hawks days, but there is a fantastic Vezina Trophy Winners subset card which placed him and Plante together. Due to injuries, Hall was limited to 18 games and Ernie Wakely came in to help the cause. By the playoffs, the trio was dividing up the appearances and Hall put together a 4-3 record. He was in goal for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and was immortalized as part of the game’s most famous photograph as Bobby Orr was tripped up while scoring the championship goal in overtime.

Hall returned for one last season in 1970-71 and that year’s O-Pee-Chee set finally used a shot of him in a Blues uniform. It would prove to be the last card of his playing days. He went 13-11-8 over 32 games with a decent 2.42 goals-against average. In the playoffs, he went winless in three appearances against Minnesota and his playing days came to an end.

All told, Hall retired with an impressive 407 wins and 84 shutouts. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975 and was one of the NHL’s earliest goalie coaches. No other netminder was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team on more occasions and his pioneering use of the butterfly style of goaltending helped revolutionize the game.
Modern Collectibles

When it comes to collectibles, Hall’s vintage cards reign supreme and remain popular with team collectors and set builders. His rookie card is certainly unheralded when compared to some of his peers and has room for growth in the coming years. When it comes to modern issues, he was part of the Parkhurst Missing Link sets from 1933-94 to 1995-96 and Upper Deck’s Retro and Century Legends releases in 1999-00, but it started to get wild in 2001-02. Finally signing for trading card products, it is not tremendously difficult to get a certified autograph of Hall, who recently turned 88. In The Game unleashed plenty of game-used memorabilia cards featuring his equipment, including a St. Louis Blues jersey, Blackhawks jersey,sticks, and even a glove.

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CHICAGO, IL — The Chicago Blackhawks are, arguably, the team of the decade.

Three Stanley Cup championships.

Patrick Kane will lead the NHL in points during the decade and won the Hart and Ross Trophies in 2016. Duncan Keith won two Norris Trophies. Jonathan Toews won the Mark Messier Award and Selke Trophy. All three of them have a Conn Smythe on their Hall of Fame resumes.

Those three and Marian Hossa built Hall of Fame resumes in Chicago over the past 10 years. Corey Crawford has been terrific, as well, manning the crease for the Hawks in two of the three championships.

The sun appears to be fading on the golden age of Blackhawks hockey, however.

This season has been marked by impressive highs and remarkable lows, all connected by frustratingly inconsistent play and questionable roster decisions by Jeremy Colliton, the young head coach who was given the unenviable task of replacing future Hall of Famer Joel Quenneville last year.

There are still glimpses of the possible, like Chicago’s overtime win in Boston on Dec. 5. In the middle of November there appeared to be hope. The roster was getting healthy and Chicago rattled off four straight wins against the Leafs, Knights, Preds and Sabres. The Hawks outscored those four opponents 21-10 during an impressive seven-day stretch of play.

Including the Boston win, the Blackhawks are 4-9-2 in 15 games since beating Buffalo on Nov. 17.

Injuries could certainly be used as an easy excuse. Keith and Andrew Shaw have missed extended time (Shaw is still out in concussion protocol) and Calvin de Haan re-injured the right shoulder that required surgery in the spring. Olli Maatta and Drake Cagguila have also missed time because of health issues.

But making – or rather accepting – excuses isn’t how this Blackhawks core has ever done business. Indeed, Chicago’s rival in St. Louis is not only the defending Stanley Cup Champions but they haven’t missed a beat despite being without Vladimir Tarasenko most of the season.

Chicago’s dysfunction may have (finally) hit a tipping point on Wednesday night.

With Keith coming back from a groin injury, Colliton opted to dress rookies Adam Boqvist and Dennis Gilbert and make veteran Brent Seabrook a healthy scratch against a Colorado team that has become emblematic of how the Central Division is passing the Blackhawks. Since Thanksgiving, the Blackhawks have lost three times to the Avs (including Wednesday) by a combined score of 16-6.

After the game, Keith let the media know how he felt about the team’s effort and Seabrook being a scratch. Keith was outspoken with his appreciation of Gilbert’s physical play in preseason action and noted that he liked what Boqvist brings to the table, but the tough reality is that Chicago simply doesn’t have enough seats at the table for all of the players they’re paying.

Colliton’s personality and approach are vastly different than Quenneville’s. Add to that the recent investigation into allegations against assistant Marc Crawford from his past that led to a suspension by the team and even the coaching staff has been a mess. The veteran players have not responded to Colliton’s approach, and Keith is not the first player to take issue with decisions openly.

Which brings us to the million-dollar questions: what is wrong with the Blackhawks? And who do we blame for the issues that have plagued them for three seasons?

The issues begin in the front office. Chicago’s prospect pipeline that once replenished a post-Cup exodus in 2010 into two more championships has dried up, and veteran additions haven’t worked out far too often.

Trading away talented young players has been a significant issue for Stan Bowman’s regime and has hurt the team’s ability to compete over the past three years.

Between 2015-19, the Blackhawks have had 39 draft picks. Only six have appeared in an NHL game, and two of those six are no longer with the organization.

Of the nine first-round picks the Blackhawks have used in the decade, only two – Boqvist and Kirby Dach, last summer’s third-overall selection – are still with the Blackhawks. Among the seven first rounders no longer with the Blackhawks, six players have been traded away for varying levels of return. Kevin Hayes, Chicago’s first-round pick in 2010, opted to sign elsewhere after his collegiate career ended.

The six first-round picks traded away: Mark McNeil, Phillip Danault, Teuvo Teravainen, Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz and Henri Jokiharju.

Danault has become a terrific contributor for Montreal, Teravainen is one of Carolina’s most dangerous forwards, Schmaltz is doing a nice job for a resurgent Arizona team and Jokiharju is averaging almost 17 minutes per night for the Sabres this season.

Amplifying the Blackhawks limited success in the draft and poor trades of prospects before they reach their potential has been Bowman’s obsession with lottery tickets and veteran bandaids.

Bowman loves to take chances on young players who haven’t reached their pre-draft ceiling. He did well with Dylan Strome (acquired for Schmaltz last year). But others, like Alex Nylander (acquired for Jokiharju earlier this year) haven’t worked.

To balance (and, in many cases, block) the young possibilities, Bowman has annually brought in veterans. Ryan Carpenter has been very good in his role with this year’s Blackhawks team, but others like Zack Smith have struggled to find consistency. Meanwhile, prospects like Dylan Sikura and Matthew Highmore spent parts of the first half in the AHL because the seats on the NHL roster are all full.

Which brings us to the ultimate issue in Chicago: cap management.

Bowman has done a good job of adding quality depth to the organization on the blueline in recent years. Boqvist and Gilbert are the first in a wave of prospects coming that should give Chicago the opportunity to turn over the roster on the back end.

Ian Mitchell, Alex Vlasic, Alec Regula, Nicolas Beaudin and Lucas Carlsson have all received solid reviews from scouts. Mitchell (U. of Denver) and Vlasic (Boston U.) are playing in the NCAA while Regula, acquired from Detroit this fall for Brendan Perlini, is skating with the London Knights.

The elephant in the room is if/when these young players will be able to join the NHL roster.

Keith and Seabrook have NMCs and are signed through 2022 and 2023, respectively. Maatta and Connor Murphy have two more years left on their contracts after the current season, as well. And both Boqvist and Gilbert are showing they belong in the NHL right now as rookies. The NHL roster is, in theory, full until the 2022-23 season.

Maybe Seattle can save the day and take a defenseman in the expansion draft?

The discussion comes back to the totality of the organization losing more than they’ve won over the past five years. They’ve lost the majority of the trades they’ve made, far too many draft picks have been a swing and a miss, and they have blocked the prospects who might be able to provide cost efficient skill to the roster with veteran acquisitions.

Fans in Chicago are calling for change. Replacing Colliton may be the superficial move many are pointing to as the easiest move to shake things up, and selling veterans to teams with postseason dreams may provide some opportunities down the road. But after two years without postseason hockey, the question now becomes whether or not Bowman is the man to pull the trigger on the changes when they happen.

Jonathan Toews Jersey

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba — As the Blackhawks search for solutions in the midst of another dreadful month, Jonathan Toews knows one thing that would help.

More tips and deflections in front of the net.

“If you watch the playoffs or you watch the tough games of the year, where teams are really competing, playing that playoff-style hockey to try to get points and sneak into the playoffs, it’s how you score goals,” Toews said this week. “You’ve got to have guys to the net, you’ve got to get shots, you’ve got to get tips, rebounds, second efforts.”

Any mention of the subject lights a fire in the captain’s eyes. It’s an aspect of offense that has always come naturally for him, and he remains very good at it, leading the Hawks with 11 shots on goal through tips and deflections.

But for the rest of the team, it’s a major weakness. Brandon Saad is second with nine such shots on goal; David Kampf has eight; no one else has more than five.

In fact, the Hawks rank last in the NHL in percentage of shots on goal that have come off tips and deflections at just 5.1 percent.

When Toews hears that, he perks up even more.

“That’s a big a reason why I keep beating this, [because] we’ve got to generate way more in that area if we want to score five-on-five,” he said. “It’s pretty clear to see.”

Toews challenged the entire locker room before Sunday’s game against the Wild to improve in that category, asking the forwards to get to dirty areas with their head up and the defensemen to focus on getting point shots through cleanly to their intended tip men.

And it worked. The Hawks generated two goals off deflections, just their eighth and ninth such goals this season, when Connor Murphy unleashed sneaky wristers from the blue line. One glanced off Kampf’s stick and in; the other hit either Saad or Dominik Kubalik, or perhaps both, and became the winning goal.

“It seemed like guys were actually fighting over that space in front of the net to try to get it,” Murphy said Sunday. “It almost seemed like that last one tipped off [Kubalik] and Saader. They were battling for that one.”

Yet on Wednesday against the Avalanche and Thursday against the Jets, the Hawks reverted to their old ways and produced little commotion in front of Pavel Francouz and Connor Hellebuyck. Only one of their combined 64 shots on goal in the two contests came off tips and deflections.

“We don’t give ourselves an opportunity to get a bounce,” coach Jeremy Colliton said Wednesday. “[The Avalanche’s] first goal, they had someone at the net, they got a puck through, it’s in. You leave a lot on the table offensively when you’re not doing those things.”

Those games are indicative of how the season has gone. Despite ranking 16th in shooting percentage off tips and deflections, the Hawks are 26th in goals that come from tips and deflections.

Toews hopes they can finally change that soon.

“If we want to score more goals, we’re not going to get it from the perimeter, beating goalies with clean shots,” he said. “Nice to see our forwards get the puck to shooting areas for our defensemen, and nice to see our defensemen finding lanes, and then thirdly, nice to see guys getting sticks on pucks and going to the net and not letting goaltenders see the puck. That’s going to be huge for us.”

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Patrick Kane had a four-point night and the Blackhawks won 4-1 against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

Keeping with the theme, here are four takeaways:

1. Kane singlehandedly led the team to a win

Kane dominated the game in Winnipeg. He played a key role in setting up three Hawks’ goals and executed one himself to grab his 44th point (19 goals, 25 assists) of the season.

Kane, double shifting in the third period, made a play to keep a puck in the offensive zone and spring Dominik Kubalik on a mini breakaway to score 39 seconds into the final frame, making it 2-0 Hawks for his second assist of the game.

He later skated the puck to open ice near the slot and passed it to Erik Gustaffson for a power-play goal, putting the Hawks up 3-1 at 10:58 of the third.

Kane scored stick side from the left circle at 16:39 of the third, making it 4-1 for the final score.

“Thought we had a great start,” Kane said. “Kind of identified the way we want to play. They had a push in the second, obviously we didn’t have a great period, but Robin made some great saves, we hung in there, in a good position 1-0 going into the third. Obviously we get a quick goal and score on the power play, get an insurance marker after that. It’s a good feeling in here.”

2. The Hawks came out strong in the first period

Alex Nylander kicked things off by scoring 59 seconds into the game. Dylan Strome chipped the puck off the boards from the defensive zone, finding Patrick Kane who fed the puck to Nylander to go up 1-0.

The Hawks dominated the first half of the opening frame, dictating the pace and controlling the puck, mostly in the Jets’ zone. Chicago was able to withstand a push from Winnipeg in the second half of the first period with Robin Lehner making some clutch, high-quality saves. Lehner finished the first stopping all 16 Jets’ shots he faced.

3. Hawks were able to weather the storm

The Hawks were outshot 11-0 in the first 10 minutes of the second period and didn’t get a shot on net until 12:32 in. Shots were 14-3 in favor of the Jets at the end of the second, with Chicago still able to hold a 1-0 lead.

4. Another tough injury hurts the Hawks

Brandon Saad left the game with a right ankle injury after taking a hit from Luca Sbisa at 11:38 of the second and needed help getting off the ice. Saad has 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) this season.

The Hawks have had a tough go with injuries lately. Andrew Shaw and Drake Caggiula are still in concussion protocol and today the team announced Brent Seabrook didn’t travel to Winnipeg to undergo “further medical evaluation”. Duncan Keith played his second game back Thursday after missing nine with a groin injury. Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton expects Saad to be out a couple of weeks.

“It’s a little bit of adversity,” Kane said of Saad’s injury. “He’s been great for us all year pretty much. He’s a guy that can push the pace, make a lot of plays by himself, he’s a really good skater obviously, a powerful skater where he can beat defense.”

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Dylan Sikura Jersey

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The Blackhawks recalled forward Dylan Sikura from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, the team announced Sunday morning. In a corresponding move for financial reasons, Anton Wedin was reassigned to Rockford after four games with the Blackhawks.

Sikura leads the IceHogs in goals (nine), points (16) and shots on goal (99) in 22 games this season. He was on a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists) prior to the call-up.

Back in Chicago for the third year — first this season — Sikura is out to prove he can stay for good.

“I think this time around just prove that I can play, I can stay, be an everyday kind of guy up here,” Sikura said. “There’s times last year towards the end of the year where I was proving myself a little bit and I’m excited to get a fresh start and another chance here.”

The biggest challenge for Sikura in the NHL has always been making the most of the minutes he gets at even strength. In college, he played in all situations. In Rockford, he was a top-line player and a key piece to the first power-play unit.

But it’s difficult for him to get those same opportunities in Chicago on a roster with Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Dylan Strome and Jonathan Toews carrying the offensive load.

Sikura has 11 assists in 38 games across two seasons with the Blackhawks, but he’s still searching for his first career NHL goal, which is something that weighed on his mind going into the summer. He takes a lot of pride in contributing on the scoresheet, and he’s hoping the goals come naturally for him this time around.

“Absolutely,” a smiling Sikura said. “I think that’s something that’s important for me. Down there, I get opportunities to score goals and obviously that’s something I’d like to do at this level so hopefully we can put this to rest soon.”

Sunday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes will be Sikura’s third in as many days. He played in Grand Rapids on Friday, Rockford on Saturday, got the call-up after the game and drove to Chicago around midnight.

It’s unclear where he’ll slot into the lineup, but the Blackhawks are pleased with his body of work and felt it was time to give Sikura a shot with the big club.

“I think he showed that he can contribute with us with his pace of play,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said. “I thought his line, when I looked back at him, Toews and Saad [last season], they had a really good stretch where they were driving possession and giving us offensive zone time and that line came through with some production too. He didn’t necessarily score, but he was a part of that.

“Just energy and work ethic, and he has some skill too. But it’s not unlike a lot of young players — just finding a way to do it every single shift every single night. We’re looking for that throughout our lineup, so if he can bring it that’ll help him.”

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Andrew Shaw Jersey

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The Chicago Blackhawks have had their fair share of bad luck so far this season. Things were looking up in the offseason when former player Andrew Shaw returned to the roster, but he recently fell to the injury bug that has plagued their locker room. He was placed on long-term injured reserve in late November due to concussion-like symptoms. Despite not being very active on the scoresheet, his absence continues to hurt the Blackhawks’ season.
Shaw’s Style

Before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens in the summer of 2016, Shaw won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks and tallied a total of 70 goals and 67 assists over 322 games. He always kept the crowd on the edge of their seats with his rough style of play and entertaining antics. He was a fan-favorite for his physicality on the ice, something the Blackhawks lacked before his return. Ryan Hartman and John Hayden were quality enforcers before they were both traded, but they didn’t have the same dominant on-ice presence that Shaw had. Some current players like Calvin de Haan, Olli Maatta, and Ryan Carpenter show some signs of being an enforcer, but nobody embodies his role quite like Shaw.
Should Shaw Be Moved? (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

His style did not change during his time with the Canadiens and doesn’t plan on changing anytime soon, as he told NBC Sports Chicago, “I find if I’m not playing on the edge, I’m not playing great, I need to play physical. Even in preseason, I was just finishing checks — clean, shoulder-to-shoulder — and was getting penalty after penalty. Hockey still is a physical game. There’s still hitting; it’s still legal. So I’m going to go out there and play hard, make it hard on my opponents, make it hard on them physically, do what I do. Not going to change who I am now.”

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman echoed a similar sentiment, as he told, “He’s a fearless player, and he plays much bigger than his actual size. He’s got an underrated skill set. When people talk about Shaw, they always talk about his intensity and competitiveness. He does go to the net, and he scores a lot of goals from in tight, and he gets a lot of shots from around the net. That’s where you need to be if you want to score in today’s game.”

Fans and players alike were ecstatic when Shaw returned to the roster in October. He was excited for his return, as he told, “I feel I still have a lot to give. I came off a pretty good year, and I’m excited, feeling healthy, feeling energized. To come back to a city that’s given me so much love and helped me grow to who I am, I have nothing but smiles.”

An enforcer was what the Blackhawks needed, but the bliss was short-lived.
Back with the Blackhawks

With three goals and seven assists in 26 games, Shaw didn’t have the offensive start that fans were hoping for. However, he still found a way to make his presence known on the ice, as he told the Chicago-Sun-Times, “I’m going to play the ice that’s given to me and just go out there and compete, battle, make sure we can sustain pucks, help out on faceoffs, forechecking, keeping pucks alive, that sort of thing.” (from ‘Andrew Shaw finally finding niche on present-day Blackhawks roster’ best all-around player through 4 games’ – Chicago Sun-Times – 11/22/19).
Andrew Shaw, Canadiens sign Andrew Shaw
Andrew Shaw (Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)

He didn’t waste time on returning to his old ways by getting under the skin of his opponents. Teammate Patrick Kane praised one of his hits after a 3-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 14. He told NBC Sports Chicago, “You look at Shawzy’s hit, the stuff he’s been doing early in the season — whether it’s scoring big goals or sticking up for guys after they get hit — it’s been awesome for the team. That’s something that can really help us. We also need to play a little bit more with the puck, but it’s a way we can get the puck back.”

Despite not scoring as many goals as expected, the physicality Shaw brings to the game isn’t something to be shoved under the rug. The Blackhawks have a record of 2-5-1 since Shaw’s injury, and it’s safe to say that the lack of physicality on the ice has been one of the many factors contributing to the losing record.

His physical style of play not only creates a strong and intimidating force on the ice but also helps boost morale among teammates. Shaw’s many brawls have one thing in common: teammates cheering for him on the bench and having his back on the ice. He isn’t afraid to stand up for himself and other players, creating a strong team bond. Without a strong team bond, nobody will ever reach their full potential.
What’s Next?

Shaw will likely return to the ice on the Dec. 27 game against the New York Islanders. Despite the likelihood of him returning soon, the Blackhawks need to find other players to help increase the strong presence on the ice that he does. De Haan, Maatta, and Carpenter have a bit of an edge and could learn from Shaw, who is beginning to embrace his new leadership role with the Blackhawks. He told Madeline Kenney of the Chicago Sun-Times, “I’m a little bit more of a leader. I think just show them that hard work can keep you in this league for a long time.” (from ‘Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw embraces role as veteran leader’ – Chicago Sun-Times – 11/30/19).

The best way to see how Shaw’s influence affects other players is to look at the statistics of hits-per-game. Shaw is second overall in for the most hits-per-game with an average of 2.9. De Haan is the only player who surpasses Shaw with an average of 3.2. His average has decreased to three hits per game since Shaw’s departure. It’s important to note that he has only played five games since Shaw’s injury due to an injury of his own, but the decrease in hits is something worth noting.
Andrew Shaw Chicago Blackhawks
Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates a goal. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Other players with a similar playing style to Shaw have also decreased their hits-per-game averages in hits-per-game since his departure. Carpenter’s average has gone from 1.9 to 1.88, and Maatta’s has dropped from 2.1 to 1.2. These differences may be small, but it is solid evidence that the Blackhawks have become a softer team since Shaw’s injury.

The current injury bug sweeping through the Blackhawks’ locker room isn’t helping their bad luck so far this season. Shaw’s placement on injured reserve has eliminated their strong physical presence on the ice. Shaw is likely to return near the end of December, but the damage his los caused won’t go away overnight.

All stats obtained from and

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Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook didn’t travel to Winnipeg with the team for Thursday’s game after participating in the morning skate and being a healthy scratch on Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche.

“Defenseman Brent Seabrook did not travel with the team to Winnipeg (undergoing further medical evaluation),” Hawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a release on Thursday a few hours prior to game time.

Seabrook’s healthy scratch on Wednesday was his third of the season in 35 games. The alternate captain and three-time Stanley Cup champ has four-and-a-half years remaining on his contract with a $6.875 million cap hit. The Hawks also play the Avalanche again in Denver on Saturday.

Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said the most recent scratch was to get younger D men like Dennis Gilbert and Adam Boqvist more reps.

Blackhawks veteran defenseman Duncan Keith, who made his return to the lineup on Wednesday after missing the previous nine-game with a groin injury, said it was tough not see his former defensive parter in the game.

“Yeah it is (tough),” Keith said. “I thought he had been playing well. When we’re in the D zone a long time, we could break down every little play. Tough to pin it on one guy out there when there’s five guys.

“I don’t know, I watched the games, I thought he was doing well. I like playing with ‘Boky (Boqvist) out there, and I think Gilbert’s been playing good. But I don’t know. I like playing with Brent, too, when I’m out there.

“He’s always in good positioning, he allows me to play my game that I can get up. I feel my best when I’m being involved in the attack and helping push the play, being up the ice. And when I’ve got that guy that I know is gonna be back as a safety valve, that is comforting for me to know that I can be up on the play and try to help push that pace and keep some pucks in the zone. I don’t want to have to back out every time and play defense.”

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Connor Murphy is making one part of coach Jeremy Colliton’s job — creating and maintaining the Blackhawks’ defensive pairs — very easy.

No matter whom Colliton puts with Murphy, the broad-shouldered, wide-smiled defenseman magically transforms the pairing into a consistent, reliable shutdown duo.

Olli Maatta is the latest beneficiary.

After the Hawks’ 3-0 victory Tuesday against the Stars — a shutout thanks in part to Murphy and Maatta locking down Dallas’ explosive first line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Joe Pavelski — Colliton gave the duo a great review.

“They took the [toughest] matchup, for the most part, and they were good,” Colliton said. “They were clean with the puck when they needed to be. You can’t just defend — you get the puck back, then we’ve got to get out.

“They’re two big bodies, and they’re playing against big bodies, and they did a really good job.”

In the last two games, Murphy-Maatta had shot, shot-on-goal and scoring-chance ratios all above 50 percent despite consistently playing against the Stars’ best forwards.

Thanks to the pairing’s effectiveness, the Hawks allowed only one goal in the home-and-home set against the Stars, who had won 12 of their last 14 games.

Murphy alone equaled that scoring total with his 180-foot empty-net goal, sealing the win Tuesday. It might not have required as much offensive instinct as his first goal of the season (last week against the Hurricanes), but it was certainly well deserved, giving Murphy a little dose of good luck and a box-score reward in exchange for suffering through two groin injuries already this season.

“I have to tip the rink guys for funneling the ice,” he joked afterward. “I think they’ve been digging out a trench for that one.”

When he has been healthy, Murphy has developed nothing less than a Midas touch when it comes to making the Hawks’ haphazard pairings turn golden.

Last season, he made his pairing with Carl Dahlstrom seem like a legitimate shutdown duo for a while — yet Dahlstrom is now nothing more than a healthy scratch for the Jets.

Earlier this season, he made Duncan Keith look like he was back in his prime, forming a dominant No. 1 pairing with the 36-year-old.

Now he has revived Maatta, whose early success alongside Brent Seabrook had long faded.

Murphy’s defensive statistics have become miles better than anyone else in the Hawks’ defensive core. He’s allowing only 51.6 shots per 60 minutes — everyone else is between 56 and 70. He’s allowing only 24.0 scoring chances per 60 minutes — everyone else is between 28 and 34. Same for shots on goal, expected goals and so forth.

With that constant supply of stifling defense, it’s no wonder Murphy provides such a stabilizing effect on the unit overall.

But Maatta merits some credit, too. The former Penguin boasts the second-lowest scoring-chance-against rate on the team and has been excellent since his return to Pittsburgh on Nov. 9 with a 50.7 Corsi rating in the nine games since after limping to a 42.2 rating before then.

Together, the Ohio native and Finland native are growing into a responsible defensive duo that Colliton can rely on. They clearly showed that Tuesday.

“Exiting [the defensive zone], we were skating a lot to try to move it back to the [neutral zone], and that helped us from having too long a shift in our own end,” Murphy said. “We were making more confident plays with the puck. When you skate and talk and use outlets, I think it makes your life a lot easier.”

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Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan doesn’t usually drink much coffee.

But as he walked out of the Hawks’ meeting before their game Friday against the Devils, the scent wafting out of his paper cup indicated otherwise.

‘‘It just helps a little bit here and there,’’ de Haan said, laughing. ‘‘Some guys take other stuff, but it just gets me going. I like the taste, even though I don’t drink it that often.’’

De Haan needed all the extra energy he could get in the Hawks’ back-to-back road victories against the Bruins and Devils. Beyond notching his 100th career point with an assist Thursday in Boston — in front of his mom, Kathy, no less — de Haan handled an enormous workload with the Hawks’ defense down two regulars.

He played a season-high 25 minutes, 26 seconds against the Bruins, then followed that with 23:38 against the Devils. The two-game total of 49:04 is the most he has logged in a back-to-back in his career and marked the first time he had played more than 23:30 in consecutive games since March 2014 with the Islanders.

‘‘It doesn’t feel like 25 minutes sometimes,’’ he said. ‘‘But when you look at the stat sheet after the game and you feel a little tired, it does feel like that sometimes. The coaching staff’s given me an opportunity here. I’ve been getting good minutes all season, so it’s really hard to complain. They’ve been putting a lot of trust in me in key times in games, and I just try to be reliable.’’

With Duncan Keith (groin) on injured reserve and Olli Maatta out temporarily with an illness, coach Jeremy Colliton had to use both Slater Koekkoek and Dennis Gilbert in the lineup. He also had to elevate his usual second- and third-pair guys.

De Haan was the biggest beneficiary, but Connor Murphy played more than 22 minutes and Brent Seabrook more than 20 in both games, too.

‘‘Those guys are playing great,’’ goalie Corey Crawford said Friday. ‘‘Blocking shots and doing a lot of the little things you don’t really get to see on the highlight reel the next day, but things that definitely make a difference in getting the puck out quick.’’

The collective effort enabled the Hawks to allow only three even-strength goals in the two games, despite an obvious fatigue factor.

De Haan said preserving energy can’t be on one’s mind during the first leg of a back-to-back, but it’s the top priority as soon as that game ends.

‘‘Everyone has their own routine,’’ he said. ‘‘For the most part, everyone just tries to conserve energy and maybe lay around a bit more.’’