Blackhawks

Blackhawks getting a deeper glimpse of the future with Dylan Sikura, Blake Hillman, Collin Delia

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AP

Blackhawks getting a deeper glimpse of the future with Dylan Sikura, Blake Hillman, Collin Delia

The final five games of the season are meaningless for the Blackhawks. In the standings, that is.

Three more players are expected to make their NHL debuts this week, starting with top prospect Dylan Sikura on Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Blake Hillman and goaltender Collin Delia likely to get in on Friday vs. Colorado.

This comes days after Victor Ejdsell made his big-league debut with the Blackhawks in a top-line center role, making it the fourth player debut in a span of three games.

While it doesn't seem like a huge deal in the short term, all of this is crucial for the Blackhawks in the big picture as it gives management and coaches a chance to evaluate what they have in the pipeline and who could potentially step into a larger role next season.

Perhaps more importantly, it's a chance for those players to get a taste of the NHL action and build on that going into the offseason.

"Good for the kids, good experience," Joel Quenneville said. "They get some exposure, see the pace, strength, decision-making that goes on and the time factor. That gets them help to prepare going into the following year, having a good offseason, building yourself up strength-wise and quickness-wise. It's a thrill to get a chance to play in the NHL knowing from year to year you hope there's progression in your overall development."

Sikura is the one that will certainly draw the most attention. He skated on the second line with Ejdsell and Alex DeBrincat during Wednesday's practice, and figures to have a serious chance at playing in the top-six next season; certainly top-9.

"Just try to be a sponge and try to learn from the older guys and the coaching staff," Sikura said on what he can learn over the final week and a half. "It's a little adjustment, but just get a little experience here, get my five games in and hopefully learn as much as I can and come back net year."

Hillman is a wild card on defense. He's not flashy, but he's steady defensively and might be the most NHL ready given his size (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) and the fact he spent four years in college honing his game and getting stronger.

"I think I'm just a strong defensive defenseman," he said. "I pride myself on keeping the puck out of the net. These guys expect offense, too. They expect D-men to jump into plays. I'm able to do that. I feel like I'm a good skater and I can get up in the play and make the right decisions.

"There's going to be a little bit of an adjustment period between the pace and the bigger guys, but I think Denver's really prepared me well."

Delia is an interesting case in goal. He struggled in the ECHL to start the season but still worked his way to the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs, where he became a key part of their playoff push before getting called up.

"I know it’s a process," Delia said. "I know things don’t come easy. Especially at this level of the pro game, it’s a lot different than college, especially for a goalie. I think it’s good, though, to have some trials and tribulations and you can enjoy these moments that much more after being there. So it’s pretty special."

It's unlikely all three will be in the fold next season, but it's still an important part of the development process to go into the summer knowing what to expect.

The remaining five games are against teams desperately battling for a playoff spot or seed: Winnipeg (twice), Colorado and St. Louis (twice). It'll be a good test for everyone to play in a game where the opposing team will throw their best effort at you, even though the results don't mean much for the Blackhawks.

Former Blackhawk Daniel Carcillo has a question for Netflix's ‘Tiger King’ star

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USA Today

Former Blackhawk Daniel Carcillo has a question for Netflix's ‘Tiger King’ star

Retired Blackhawks’ winger Daniel Carcillo has apparently spent his quarantine the same way the rest of us have, binging Netflix's iconic docuseries "Tiger King." One of the principal subjects of the series is Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist and nemesis of Joe Exotic, also known as Tiger King.

While Carole’s life mission to rescue large cats is admirable, the documentary doesn't paint her as innocently as she’d like. Episode Three, titled "The Secret," discusses the disappearance of Carole’s second husband, Don, in the 90s, leaving many viewers to believe that Carole murdered her husband and fed his body (which has never been found) to her tigers. 

Carole actively rebukes these accusations, but it hasn’t stopped people from speculating. Including Daniel Carcillo, who Tweeted at Carole’s rescue organization to ask where Don’s body is. 

I mean... we all want to know. 

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2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 4 win over Canucks

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AP

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 4 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 regaining home-ice advantage with a 5-2 win in Game 3, the Blackhawks rolled past the Canucks 7-4 in Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals. Here are three things we noticed in the win:

1. A power play explosion

The Blackhawks' job going into Vancouver was to win at least one of the two games to take back home-ice advantage. They did that in Game 3. But Game 4 was the icing on the cake.

The final score was 7-4, but the reality is, the Blackhawks were outplayed in this game at even strength, where they generated only 27 shot attempts and 13 scoring chances while the Canucks had 55 shot attempts and 27 scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick.

It was special teams that made the difference. In their first nine postseason games, the Blackhawks went 7-for-37 on the power play for a success rate of 18.9. In Game 4 against Vancouver, they exploded for four goals on eight opportunities. 

2. A career night for Jonathan Toews

Fresh off a three-point effort in Game 3, Toews followed that up by recording a career-high five points, highlighted by his first career postseason hat trick. All three goals were scored on the power play, the third of which turned out to be the game winner. It was his fifth multi-point outing of the playoffs in his ninth game.

The Blackhawks' stars willed their team to a victory in Game 4, and they followed the lead of their captain.

3. Don't forget about Patrick Sharp

While Toews dominated the scoresheet, there's another Blackhawk who also had a big night: No. 10 in white. Sharp scored a power-play goal, had three assists and won five of six faceoffs in the win that helped him secure the No. 2 star of the game.

Here's a fun fact to wrap up: Sharp recorded at least one point in seven of his first 10 games of this postseason, and 15 of 22 total. He had 13 points (five goals, eight assists) through his first 10 games following a four-point effort in Game 4.

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