Blackhawks

Acquiring Patrick Sharp helped change the Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Acquiring Patrick Sharp helped change the Blackhawks

Patrick Sharp, Jake Arrieta and Paul Konerko. Three names Chicago sports fans will never forget and they have something else in common. 

You build championship teams by making the right choices on draft day. The Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox have all done it in the last 15 years. All three teams also made some shrewd trades that changed the future of their franchises.

In December 2005, Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon made one of the best trades in team history. Unquestionably top three. "We addressed a need for speed and skill in getting Patrick Sharp," Tallon told reporters after acquiring the 23-year-old winger from the Phialdelphia Flyers.

The deal turned out to be outragously lopsided, as Matt Ellison and a third round pick went to Philly. Ellison never scored another NHL goal and played just seven games for the Flyers.  Sharp played 749 games in the Blackhawks sweater. He scored 249 goals and piled up 532 points. He was a key part of three Stanley Cup championships.

So, what does Sharpie have to do with Jake Arrieta and Paul Konerko? They were all part of franchise changing trades that led to championship parades in downtown Chicago.

Anthony Rizzo was Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer's first big trade. Kris Bryant and Rizzo turned into Wrigley's Kane and Toews. But Arrieta's move to the Cubs was just as lopsided as the Blackhawks swap for Sharp. A third key piece to the puzzle. The Cubs found a way to fleece Baltimore in July 2013, acquiring Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Arrieta helped change the Cubs culture by transforming himself from a struggling starter that once had a bright future into a dominating Cy Young winner who threw two no-hitters and helped win a historic World Series championship. He didn't stay in town as long as Patrick Sharp, but his impact was undeniable.

Paul Konerko was a Sharp-like piece for the White Sox. On Nov. 11, 1998, the Sox stole Konerko from the Cincinnati Reds. The price for their future captain was Mike Cameron, who was certainly more accomplished than Scott Feldman, Steve Clevenger or Matt Ellison.

The Sox won big, as Konerko joined Mark Buehrle and developed into one of the faces of the franchise while winning it all in 2005. In 16 seasons on the South Side, Konerko ripped 432 home runs and drove in nearly 1,400 runs.

Three great trades in Chicago sports history and with Sharp waving at center ice this weekend, all three have now said goodbye. Thanks for the memories and the parades.    

 

Where do Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews rank among NHL jersey sales in 2017-18?

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USA TODAY

Where do Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews rank among NHL jersey sales in 2017-18?

The NHL announced their final jersey sales from the 2017-18 regular season, and there's a new name at No. 1.

Reigning Calder Trophy winner Auston Matthews edged out last season's winner Sidney Crosby as the top-selling jersey after finishing fourth in 2016-17.

The Blackhawks may have missed the playoffs for the first time since Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were rookies, but that's not stopping fans from purchasing their merchandise.

Each of them stayed inside the top 10, although it's a drop-off from a year ago when Kane was second and Toews was third.

Here what the rest of the Top 15 looked like:

A behind-the-scenes look at Dylan Sikura's journey from college to Blackhawks

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Blackhawks Originals

A behind-the-scenes look at Dylan Sikura's journey from college to Blackhawks

It's not often you see NHL-ready players stay all four years of college, but that's exactly what Dylan Sikura did because of his desire to help Northeastern win a championship and also complete school.

It fueled a little speculation among the fanbase about whether Sikura would actually sign with the Blackhawks after his season ended, probably because it happened to them before when Kevin Hayes, their 24th overall pick in 2010, decided to test the market after college in 2014.

But the Blackhawks were confident all along that Sikura would ink an entry-level deal once his career at Northeastern ended and he did.

In a web documentary released on Friday, the Blackhawks provided a behind-the-scenes look at Sikura's journey from college to the NHL, reaffirming that internal belief from the beginning.

It's well-done, and covers a lot of ground in 11 minutes and 38 seconds, ranging from following him around to class, practices and games, taking us inside the Blackhawks' pro scout mid-season meetings and Sikura's arrival at O'Hare Airport and leading up to his NHL debut on March 29.

Check it out here: