Blackhawks

The pros and cons of reuniting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on Blackhawks top line

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USA TODAY

The pros and cons of reuniting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on Blackhawks top line

Jonathan Toews' offense usually comes in spurts. We're seeing it again right now.

But it's no coincidence his numbers have spiked since Patrick Kane joined him on the top line.

After recording another two points in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the Blackhawks captain has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past eight games; he had 11 points in his previous 23 games total.

Toews also reached the 20-goal mark for the 11th straight season, joining Kane and Alex Ovechkin as the only three active players to accomplish that feat to open their NHL careers.

Kane has seen his offensive production pick up, too. He has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in his past 13 games after going five straight without one, which was his longest point drought of the season.

When the two of them are on the ice together at even strength, they control 57.9 percent of the shot attempts. It hasn't quite translated on the scoresheet (14 goals for and 17 goals against) maybe the way it should, but they are certainly spending far more time in the offensive zone than the defensive end and are generating a high volume of shots.

So yes, reuniting the dynamic duo has worked stats-wise.

But it comes at a cost:

— Vinnie Hinostroza and Nick Schmaltz haven't scored in six straight contests.

— Alex DeBrincat's season-long goal drought is up to 13 games.

— Artem Anisimov's last even-strength goal came nine games ago.

When you put Kane and Toews together, you risk losing some balance across the lineup and that's why Joel Quenneville has always been reluctant to go to that nuclear option. He prefers when opposing teams are forced to play 'Pick Your Poison.'

Ideally, you'd like to spread out the scoring, but one thing is for certain: The Blackhawks are better when Kane and Toews are each producing offensively, whether they're apart or together. 

When the wins start to dry up though — and they have — that's normally when it's time to try something different.

Perhaps more importantly, the last thing you want are those scoring droughts mentioned above to stretch even further and get inside the younger skaters' heads, then carrying it with them into the offseason.

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: