Blackhawks

Three Things to Watch: Alex DeBrincat moves up to top line tonight vs. Predators

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Three Things to Watch: Alex DeBrincat moves up to top line tonight vs. Predators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Predators Friday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Let's go line dancing. Joel Quenneville is a habitual line tinkerer, and on Friday, we'll get our first glimpse at the new Blackhawks' forward groupings. Although the shakeup hits all four lines, the most interesting switch comes at the top, where rookie Alex DeBrincat gets his chance to play alongside Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. The 19-year-old has only one goal in the team's first 10 games, but maybe he, and the offense, will get a jump-start from the changes. 

Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz welcome Richard Panik to the second line, keeping an edge of physicality in the fold. Panik is already tied for fourth on the team with eight points, so it will be intriguing to see how he adds to what is usually the Hawks best offensive line. 

2. Gotta be special. The Preds have some of the best special teams in the NHL, ranking sixth on the power play and fifth on the penalty kill. Sources say that's pretty good, and the Blackhawks would be wise to stay out of the penalty box. 

It seems rather unlikely that the Hawks' 20th-ranked power play will snap out of its funk against the astute Preds' kill, but strange things seem to happen when these two teams square off... 

3. Sweet smell of revenge (kinda). Winning a regular season game in October doesn't quite equate to sweeping a playoff series, but the Hawks' overtime win in Nashville a few weeks back was a positive step on the revenge ladder. 

Expect the Hawks to be skating with a little extra juice come 7:30 p.m., when they hit the ice to try and wipe away bad memories from home fans' minds. 

 

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: