Blackhawks

Dylan Sikura breathes sigh of relief, finally scores first career NHL goal with Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Dylan Sikura breathes sigh of relief, finally scores first career NHL goal with Blackhawks

Dylan Sikura has been an offensive player his entire hockey career. In juniors, in college and in the American Hockey League he was relied upon to score goals and put up points and had no problem doing it at those first three levels.

It's the NHL where it hasn't translated as easily.

After a 43-game drought to open his NHL career, Sikura finally scored his first goal and celebrated by leaping into the arms of Erik Gustafsson. It was a huge relief for Sikura, who did his best to stay patient throughout the process, but you knew it was eating at him internally.

"I waited a long time for that," Sikura said following the Blackhawks' 4-2 comeback win over the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on Sunday. "As much as I tried to not let it affect me, obviously at the end of the day it's going to and it's going hurt your confidence a little. Sometimes when you're not scoring it kind of feels like you're not doing much out there even if maybe you are. It's nice to get that weight off my back and hopefully get a couple more here."

Sikura became the fifth player on the Blackhawks this season to score his first career NHL goal, joining Adam Boqvist, Kirby Dach, Dennis Gilbert and Dominik Kubalik. It took only two games for Boqvist, Dach and Kubalik to get on the board, all of whom made it seem easier than it really is.

Sikura had to wait nearly two years for his turn, but he no longer has to wonder when it's going to come. He capitalized beautifully on Gustafsson's rebound by burying the puck into a wide-open net to even the score at 2-2 in the middle frame. It was the second goal in 45 seconds for the Blackhawks, who scored four unanswered to finish the game.

"I was telling the guys," Sikura said, "I think that's something I pictured, that exact scenario maybe a thousand times before bed."

Perhaps the best part about Sikura breaking through is how much his teammates wanted it for him. Before every game, somebody would make a comment to Sikura about how this is going to be the night. On Sunday, it was Jonathan Toews.

"It was awesome," Dylan Strome said. "I hope there's a bench reaction. We were going crazy for the bench for him, obviously. It sucks; it took me 12 games and I was thinking about it every single night and I'm sure he was too. You know he's thinking about it — the guy can score goals, makes plays, he's been doing it all since he's been here. Tazer said today that he 'feels it today, Sikky,' and he gets that all the time, but I think this one stuck with him and he put it right home."

"Tazer had a good feeling for me tonight," Sikura said. "So cheers to him."

On second thought, maybe sharing that special moment with your teammates isn’t Sikura’s favorite part about scoring his first NHL goal.

Two reporters approached Sikura on separate occasions after morning skate on Sunday to talk about whether his scoring slump is taking a toll on him. Those questions can finally be put to rest.

"I don't have to listen to you guys ask me about it anymore," a smiling Sikura said. "That's nice."

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Toronto cancels city-wide events until June 30: here's what it means for the NHL

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USA Today

Toronto cancels city-wide events until June 30: here's what it means for the NHL

Tuesday afternoon Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the city would cancel all major city-wide events until June 30. For baseball fans hoping to start their season and basketball and hockey fans hoping to get back into the swing of theirs, the news makes it hard to envision live sports returning before July. 

What does this mean for the NHL? Well, technically the ban is for city-wide events such as parades, events, festivals, and other cultural programs, excluding the NHL. 

However, professional sports will have to contend with the province of Ontario, which banned gatherings of more than five earlier this month. 

The NHL recently reached out to arenas asking for their availability in July and August. 

The idea of finishing out the 2020 season in summer is becoming more and more likely as governments continue to grapple with the severity of COVID-19. There have been speculations about what this new schedule will look like for the NHL, including a shortened 2020-21 preseason and eliminating by-weeks and All-Star weekend. This will present its own unique challenges, including arenas in warmer climates struggling to maintain ice quality for summer games. But if more major cities follow Toronto’s lead, all we know for certain is that a return to normalcy may be longer than anticipated. 

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Which teammate would Jonathan Toews most and least want to quarantine with?

Which teammate would Jonathan Toews most and least want to quarantine with?

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews spoke with the media on Tuesday for the first time since the NHL was paused on march 12.

Toews, along with defensemen Roman Josi (Nashville Predators) and Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues) represented the Central Division on a video conference call held by the NHL.

The trio answered a variety of questions, including which teammates you'd most and least want to be quarantined with.

"I guess I'll start with the most. I'd probably say Corey Crawford," Toews answered. "He's just kind of an easy going guy. Whatever you want to do, he's down for whatever."

And for who he'd least like to be quarantined with? You could probably guess.

"And I'd say least, since I roomed with him for so long, I'd have to say Kaner (Patrick Kane). There's some ups and downs through that relationship there."

The three players were also asked what they missed the least about playing one another. Pietrangelo and Josi had interesting responses on Toews.

"Jonny's just a pain in the a** to play against. Oops, pardon my language," Pietrangelo responded. "I battled a lot with these two guys (Toews and Josi). More so Jonny because he's a forward, but we've had a lot of battles. 

"But, you know what, God, I’d welcome those battles. I think right now we miss those battles. I don’t know about you guys, but we could use a few of those battles."

"Like [Pietrangelo] said, I obviously see a lot more of Jonny, as a forward, but I mean just chasing him around in our zone, for I don't know how long, and can't take the puck away from him, trying to cross-check him," Josi answered. "Just him around the net it's not fun as a defenseman, you can't really get the puck off him. We had some really good battles against Chicago, some really good playoff series. We all miss it."

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

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