Blackhawks

Blackhawks all-time leading scorer Stan Mikita dies at 78

Blackhawks all-time leading scorer Stan Mikita dies at 78

Stan Mikita, the Blackhawks' all-time leading scorer with 1,467 points, has died. He was 78.

Statement on behalf of the Mikita family:

With great sorrow, the Mikita family announces that Stan passed away on Tuesday August 7, 2018 at the age of 78. He was surrounded by his loving family whom he fiercely loved. Details of planned services will be released when they become available. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time.

Statement from Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz:

There are no words to describe our sadness over Stan's passing. He meant so much to the Chicago Blackhawks, to the game of hockey, and to all of Chicago. He left an imprint that will forever be etched in the hearts of fans — past, present and future. Stan made everyone he touched a better person. My wife Marilyn and I, joined by the entire Wirtz family, extend our prayers and thoughts to Jill and the Mikita family. ‘Stosh’ will be deeply missed, but never, ever forgotten.

Statement from Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough:

Stan Mikita will be always remembered as a champion, an innovator and a master of the game. He embodied the Chicago Blackhawks. His excellence is illustrated by the team records he still holds today. His passion for the game was proved by the longevity of his playing career. The impact he had on the franchise is proved by fact that Blackhawks fans still wear his jersey to the United Center. On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and our fans, we express our deepest condolences to the Mikita family and all who mourn Stan’s passing.

In 22 seasons in the NHL — all with the Blackhawks — Mikita took home two Hart Memorial trophies as most valuable player, four Art Ross trophies as leading scorer, appeared in nine All-Star games and helped Chicago capture a Stanley Cup in 1961. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.

Throughout his career, Mikita was known to be an offensive machine. But in his early years, he was also one of the most penalized players in the league, racking up 689 total penalty minutes in his first seven seasons.

It wasn't until the final road game of the 1964-65 campaign when Mikita changed up his style after his 14-month old daughter Meg was watching on TV and asked: "Mommy, why does Daddy spend so much time sitting down?", referring to Mikita sitting in the penalty box away from his teammates.

Mikita's penalty minutes dropped from 154 to 58 the following season, and then to a mere 12 and 14, respectively, in 1966-67 and 1967-68. Because of that, he went on to win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy — the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability — in back-to-back years and remains the only player in NHL history to capture the Hart, Art Ross and Lady Byng in the same season, having done so twice.

Perhaps his most innovative mark on the game, Mikita and teammate Bobby Hull were credited with inventing the curved stick. One day during practice Mikita's blade got caught in the doorway by the bench and cracked, creating an "L" shape in the stick. Out of frustration, Mikita found the nearest puck and fired a slapshot into the glass, which made a sound he'd never heard before. It was about a month later that Mikita perfected it and used it in a game for the first time.

"Obviously he's a big part of this family, the history of what it means to be a Blackhawk," Jonathan Toews said of Mikita in 2015. "You don’t feel the privilege to play for the Hawks if it’s not for people and players like Stan Mikita. Long after his playing days he’s still a humble, down-to-earth person who still takes the time to talk to everybody. He found ways to make other people feel good about themselves. That says more about him than anything else. We all look up to him and what he accomplished in the game of hockey."

Mikita, who had his number raised to the rafters on Oct. 19, 1980 and a bronze statue unveiled outside the United Center in 2011, will forever be remembered as arguably the greatest player to ever put on a Blackhawk uniform.

Patrick Kane views booing in St. Louis as 'a sign of respect'

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USA Today

Patrick Kane views booing in St. Louis as 'a sign of respect'

ST. LOUIS — Of the 11 NHL All-Stars from the Central Division this season, four of them are Blues: Jordan Binnington, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron and Alex Pietrangelo. And deservedly so.

The other seven were all booed by Blues fans on Friday, but none were louder than the ones Patrick Kane drew.

Kane steps on the ice for warmups? Boos.

Kane’s name announced as a Central Division representative? Boos.

Kane touches the puck for one of the skills challenges? Boos.

Heck, even during Thursday’s media session when seven other skaters were talking at the same time as Kane, he was interrupted by boos.

So when the nine-time Blackhawks All-Star won the Shooting Stars challenge at the Skills Competition on Friday, Blues fans weren’t afraid to show how they felt about it. It didn’t help that it was the final event of the night, either.

After the competition, Kane was asked about the crowd reception in St. Louis. And he responded in terrific fashion.

"The boys were asking me why I was getting booed," Kane said. "And I said I shouldn't have scored those overtime playoff goals against them and maybe they wouldn't have booed me."

Over the last decade, Kane helped lead the Blackhawks to nine consecutive playoff appearances, five Conference Finals and three Stanley Cup runs. He was a thorn in the side of every Central Division team over that span, including the Blues.

In 64 career games against the Blues, Kane has 25 goals and 38 assists for 63 points. He also has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 13 postseasons contests, with two of those goals being game winners.

As they say, fans don’t boo nobodies.

"I remember me and my dad, we went to watch the Flyers and Sabres fans were booing [Eric] Lindros the whole game," Kane recalled. "I think he got kicked out with like 10 minutes left in the game or something, and then the game was no fun anymore because there was no one left to boo or watch. 

“You kind of view it as, obviously it’s somewhat a sign of hatred, but somewhat a sign of respect too. It’s fun when you play in Nashville or Winnipeg or places like that, and you hold onto the puck and they’re booing you and you want to hold onto it longer. [Duncan Keith] get booed in Vancouver, which is always pretty funny to see him up his game a little bit and hold onto the puck as well. It’s somewhat a sign of respect.”

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Patrick Kane wins Shooting Stars, Kendall Coyne part of history and more from 2020 NHL Skills Competition

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AP

Patrick Kane wins Shooting Stars, Kendall Coyne part of history and more from 2020 NHL Skills Competition

ST. LOUIS — The NHL Skills Competition can be hit or miss, but 2020 will go down as one of the better ones in recent memory. There were two new events, history was made and there was certainly drama.

It also ended in a fun night for Blackhawks fans, who got to see their lone All-Star wrap up the event with a win in St. Louis.

Here's a recap of some of the best moments from Friday:

Patrick Kane wins Shooting Stars challenge

It may have been the final competition of the night, but it was a memorable one. The NHL introduced a new event called the "Shooting Stars" challenge, which featured 10 players trying to hit a variety of targets from an elevated platform in the crowd. Each one had seven pucks to rack up as many points as possible.

Mitch Marner, who was the second shooter, recorded 22 points, which was the score to beat. Only Kane matched that, although the hometown fans lobbies for Ryan O’Reilly to be included in the group after Blues legend Brett Hull took his final shot and missed.

In a one-shot sudden death “score-off,” Kane picked up two points while Marner came away with zero. Much to the disappointment of Blues fans, Kane officially took home the W.

"It was alright, I think it's a little gimmicky," Kane said. "But at the same time, try to have fun with it and enjoy the event. We all had a little pact that we're going to shoot for the arch and try to get as many points as we can through the 10-pointers. It was fun to win it."

History made for second straight year

Kendall Coyne Schofield made history in 2019 when she became the first woman to participate in the NHL Skills Competition, replacing an injured Nathan MacKinnon in the fastest skater competition. She logged a time of 14.346, which was seventh out of the eight participants.

This year, there was an entire event dedicated for the women skaters for the first time in league history.

USA and Canada played against each other in a 3-on-3 tournament, with the 10 best players from each country making up the rosters. It was entertaining back and forth action, and Canada prevailed 2-1 despite USA nearly scoring on a buzzer beater in the final period. It was a terrific event for the sport and the growth of women's hockey.

"It's something that you dream about, the day that there's routinely that many people watching women's hockey and there are sold-out building," Coyne Schofield said. "And so to have that here tonight for 3-on-3 alongside the NHL's best is just incredible." 

A new fastest skater

After winning the event for three consecutive years, Connor McDavid was dethroned in the fastest skater competition despite posting the best time of his career (13.215). He was edged out by Mathew Barzal by just 0.04 with a time of 13.175. 

Barzal missed Dylan Larkin's record of 13.172 from 2016 by only 0.003.

"I told Connor when I was out there, I don't think I could have skated a better lap," Barzal said. "I don't know if I could do it again. It was exciting. Obviously you want to try to win and there's a lot of fast skaters out there. To skate a lap like that today was fun, it was cool."

A new hardest shot champion

With the hardest shot competition in St. Louis, it was only fitting for the Blues to bring back Al MacInnis, who’s a seven-time champion of the event. And that’s exactly what they did.

MacInnis hopped on the ice, waved to the crowd, teed up for a celebrity shot and clocked in at 100.4 mph with a wooden stick. The official time may never be confirmed, but in the eyes of everyone there, it didn't matter. It was a cool moment to see MacInnis blast one more shot.

Shea Weber, who won the hardest shot competition three consecutive years from 2015-17, made his return to the event and reclaimed the title with a first shot of 105.9 and a second of 106.5, both of which were harder than any other skater.

Weber’s 106.5 was 2.0 away from his personal best set in 2015 and 2.3 away from Zdeno Chara’s record of 108.8 in 2012.

Jordan Binnington clutches up in St. Louis

One of the loudest moments of the night came during the “Save Streak” challenge, where all eight goaltenders competed to make the most consecutive saves.

The streak to beat was nine by Andrei Vasilevskiy with one netminder left: the hometown guy.

And, like he did throughout the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, Binnington clutched up and topped Vasilevskiy by stopping 10 in a row, one of which came from Tomas Hertl wearing a Justin Bieber face mask in honor of the social media bet Bieber and Binnington made about a future breakaway challenge.

"We expected more of the Biebs today but he'll be alright," Binnington said. "He'll figure it out. We'll take that one. I don't think it counts towards the real competition. ... It was pretty funny. I'm sure he'll get a laugh out of it. Hertl did a great job."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.