Slavko Bekovic

Patrick Kane the first player on the Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Patrick Kane the first player on the Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Throughout the 2019-20 season, NBC Sports Chicago will be unveiling its Blackhawks All-Decade Team. The roster will feature the 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and two goaltenders that made the biggest impact on the franchise from the 2010 through 2019 seasons.

There simply cannot be an All-Decade team without Patrick Kane. And with the Blackhawks opening the regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers, what better way to roll out the roster than with Kane, who secured the Blackhawks first Stanley Cup in 49 years with his series-clinching goal against the Flyers in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

Already among the organization’s all-time greats, Kane ranks third in Blackhawks franchise history in assists, fourth in points and game-winning goals, fifth in total goals and ninth in games played,

The list of accolades is long.

He has won three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, became the first American-born player to win the Art Ross Trophy, won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP and also taken home a Ted Lindsay Award to boot. Last season, Kane set a new career-high with 110 points and seems to somehow be getting better as he enters his 13th NHL season.

Early in his career, Kane was known for his stickhandling and his signature was the way he chewed on his mouthguard in the middle of the play. Now, Kane has become one of the biggest stars in the NHL and the role model for so many of the young players coming into the league every season.

As he enters the 2019-20 season, Kane looks to become the third Blackhawks player in franchise history with back-to-back 100-point seasons, and will also try to join Denis Savard and Jeremy Roenick as the only players in team history to register three such seasons.

The Blackhawks All-Decade team rightfully opens up with Patrick Kane as the right-winger on the team’s top line.

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Blackhawks’ depth could be key as roster becomes clearer

Blackhawks’ depth could be key as roster becomes clearer

Jeremy Colliton has tried to dismiss any notion that forward lines in preseason games or practice groups in training camp give any indication as to what the Blackhawks might look like come October 4 in Prague. But with only two preseason games remaining – one of which could very well be the Rockford IceHogs against the Boston Bruins – it would be quite a shock to see the lines shuffled much before the team heads overseas.

“To me, it’s becoming more clear what our lineup is going to look like,” Colliton said after a 3-2 overtime win over an abbreviated Bruins squad on Saturday. “I think we’re getting what we want out of training camp here.”

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews look like a safe bet to once again start the season on the top line, with Alexander Nylander getting the first look on the left wing. On the second line, the combination of Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat look like they will have Andrew Shaw pestering opponents and opening up some ice for them.

Where the Blackhawks hope to see a major improvement is in the bottom six, where the team struggled to generate offense last season. Stan Bowman’s additions this summer seem to have the Blackhawks in much better position to not have to rely so heavily on their top two lines or top power play unit.

The third line looks fairly set with Brandon Saad on the left wing and Dominik Kubalik on the right wing. David Kampf looks like the favorite to center that line, but the Blackhawks did give Anton Wedin a look there against the Bruins, and he delivered a primary assist on Saad’s goal.

“I think he plays with a lot of energy and he’s a conscientious player. I think he works hard. Both sides of the puck, he’s got a little bit of skill. He’s a strong skater,” Colliton said of Wedin. “I thought he did well, I liked that line. I thought Saad was excellent.”

The fourth line of Drake Caggiula, Ryan Carpenter and Zack Smith earned high praise as well.

“I thought that Carpenter line with Smith and Caggiula was really good, really effective for us,” Kane said. “I think that’s something we might have been missing a little bit last year. Good to see them going, seems like that could be a fun line to watch.”

When the Blackhawks’ season ended this past April, Colliton said he wanted to rely less on Kane and use his star in a more “targeted” way. If the third and fourth lines can generate some scoring, or at the very least some offensive zone time, it could go a long way in getting the Blackhawks into a position to confidently roll four lines.

“We have so much more depth, definitely. There’s no question,” Colliton said. “To have the opportunity to move guys up at times, they should be fresh and ready to make a difference further up the lineup. We have competition, which I think is a good formula for us.”

So, while Colliton may try to play coy on forward lines and defense pairings, Kane has much less to hide.

“That was pretty much our lineup, or close to our lineup, so we’re trying to identify the way we want to play,” Kane said. “Obviously, I think we had some spurts tonight where we did that well and some other times where we struggled a little bit. It’s early in the season, we’re still trying to figure it out.”

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Collin Delia unveils Blackhawks-themed pads


Collin Delia unveils Blackhawks-themed pads

A week after Robin Lehner unveiled his new Blackhawks pads, Collin Delia has done the same.

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Feathered & lethal. @collindelia #B⭐️

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Delia's pads are heavily Blackhawks-themed, featuring the red feather from the team's logo. 

Delia has worn Brian's pads throughout his Blackhawks career, including these amazing retro-style pads he wore for the 2019 Winter Classic against the Bruins.

Your turn, Corey Crawford.