Blackhawks

Alex Nylander making strong first impression, but will he start 2019-20 season with Blackhawks?

Alex Nylander making strong first impression, but will he start 2019-20 season with Blackhawks?

The Blackhawks are a team that likes to take chances on young players who were highly regarded coming out of their draft but have underachieved to start their professional careers.

Take Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome for example. Both of them are former first-round picks, with Strome being drafted No. 3 overall in 2015. 

Alex Nylander is somebody who falls under this category. Taken No. 8 overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2016, he put up decent numbers in the AHL but couldn’t take that next step in the NHL and hasn’t been able to stick. He's trying to change that in Chicago after being acquired by the organization in the summer for Henri Jokiharju.

"I'm just trying to work hard every shift, be consistent out there and just play my game," Nylander said. "Make plays and be good defensively as well."

Nylander has been a standout in Blackhawks training camp so far. He shined in Sunday’s team scrimmage at the United Center by scoring a highlight-reel penalty shot goal and followed that up with a multi-point effort in his preseason debut on Monday, scoring a goal and adding an assist against Washington.

It's the consistency and how he plays when he doesn't have the puck that's going to determine whether he sticks with the big club and ultimately thrives.

"I just think learning how to play at a higher pace away from the puck," Jeremy Colliton said. "He is a good skater. He can fly. You can see when he's hunting, he's on offense, he can really skate. We're going to want him to show us that persistence away from the puck to try and get it back. Obviously when his teammates have the puck (or) when he has the puck — when he's on offense — he's a terrific player. He can be a real asset for us. So we want him to put himself in those situations as much as he can."

There are legitimately eight or nine forwards that are competing for the two or three roster spots on Opening Night. Nylander is one of them. He has such an elite offensive skillset that it's hard to ignore him for one of them, and he's probably better off playing with guys who think the game the same way.

"He can make a lot of plays and he can see the ice as offensive players do," Colliton said. "He's got a great shot, great release. ... Having said that, for him, the more versatile he can show that he can be then it gives us more options and different places to fit him into the lineup. It's a lot easier to make the team. So he'll probably move around here as we go through preseason and see if there's a fit."

While Nylander, in the big picture, is simply competing for a spot on the 23-man roster, he also finds himself battling for a role within the team in the process. But he's not looking that far ahead.

"I'm just trying to do my best out here and take whatever is given to me," Nylander said. "Just do good, play my game and good things will happen I think. I've just been working really hard this summer and I'm trying to take that with me from the past three years in Buffalo and try to be the best player I can be.”

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Ottawa Senators announce five more members test positive for COVID-19

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USA Today

Ottawa Senators announce five more members test positive for COVID-19

It has been announced five more members of the Ottawa Senators have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the organization’s total confirmed cases to six. The Senators were the first team in the NHL to have a confirmed case, which had been reported on March 17. On April 1, it had been announced that all six members of the Senators have since recovered from COVID-19.

This news comes on the heels of TSN color analyst Gord Wilson testing positive for COVID-19 last week. On March 26 it was announced a player for the Colorado Avalanche had tested positive for COVID-19 as well. The identities of the Senators members and Avalanche player with COVID-19 are currently anonymous. 

The Blackhawks were scheduled to host the Senators on the day after the league halted the season. The Senators were coming off a three-game road trip in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

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2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 6 win over Canucks

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 6 win over Canucks

In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup team, NBC Sports Chicago is re-airing each of the Blackhawks' 16 postseason wins from the run that ended a 49-year championship drought. You can join the conversation using #HawksRewind on social media.

After failing to close out the series at home in Game 5, the Blackhawks took care of business in Vancouver by eliminating the Canucks following a 5-1 win in Game 6 to advance to the Western Conference Final for the second straight season. Here are three things we noticed in the win:

1. Contributions all around

The 2010 Blackhawks had ridiculous depth. And they flexed their muscles in Game 6 after three of the four lines contributed on the scoresheet. 

Five different Blackhawks scored in the win (Troy Brouwer, Dave Bolland, Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg) and three others recorded an assist (Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp). Byfuglien and Kane each had multi-point outings.

2. Dave Bolland ices the game

After a scoreless first period, the Blackhawks scored two goals in a 36-second span in the opening minutes of the second period to take a 2-0 lead. The next goal was going to be a crucial one as the game went on.

With 1:03 left in the period, the Canucks were awarded a power play. It was a prime opportunity to get themselves back in the game and generate momentum. But that did not happen thanks to The Rat.

Bolland, who was a pest all series long, disrupted Pavol Demitra's pass at the point, caught the puck in his hand, dropped it on the ice, fought off Demitra twice and snuck a shot past Robert Luongo to put the Blackhawks up 3-0.

The Canucks never recovered.

3. Containing the Sedin twins

Big-time players make big-time plays in the biggest moments. The Blackhawks are a perfect example of that. Can you think of a better big-game player than Patrick Kane? Jonathan Toews? Duncan Keith? The core together?

The Canucks, at home, had the advantage of drawing favorable defensive matchups. But Henrik and Daniel Sedin went up against Bolland's line, which contained both of them.

At even strength, the Sedins had 15 shot attempts for and six against and seven scoring chances for and four against, according to Natural Stat Trick. But they gave up two goals and scored zero.

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