Blackhawks

John Hayden adjusting quickly for Blackhawks

John Hayden adjusting quickly for Blackhawks

John Hayden's stall in the Blackhawks' locker room is right next to Michal Rozsival. For Hayden, who grew up in Connecticut and watched Rozsival during the defenseman's days with the New York Rangers, to be around him and others is awe-inspiring.

For a young player, being in awe is great as long as it doesn't lead to distracted play on the ice. Hayden, however, has not had that problem.

Hayden will play in his fourth pro game on Tuesday when the Blackhawks host the Vancouver Canucks. It's a small sample size but Hayden's handled the jump from college to pros well. He's been good in pressure situations, too, recording two primary assists in the Blackhawks' 6-3 comeback victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. As for balancing the locker-room awe with the on-ice play, Hayden said, "I think it can go hand in hand."

"Watching these guys, as a college player and as a kid growing up, you know how hard they work and how talented they are," Haydensaid. "It's more about learning from them in person and trying to translate that into the honest experience."

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Jonathan Toews said Hayden has adapted well.

"System-wise he's getting more comfortable being in the right place. He's trusting his instincts," Toews said following Sunday's game. "He's doing the little things and getting better and better every game. He's doing everything you could ask for his first couple of games."

Marian Hossa will return from his lower-body injury for Tuesday's game. So will Johnny Oduya, who got a rest day on Sunday. Corey Crawford gets the start.

Broadcast information

Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN-Plus
Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks forward lines

John Hayden-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Nick Schmaltz-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen-Tanner Kero-Tomas Jurco

Defensive pairs 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Canucks forward lines

Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Michael Chaput
Sven Baertschi-Bo Horvat-Reid Boucher
Joseph Cramarossa-Brandon Sutter-Drew Shore
Joe Labate-Brendan Gaunce-Jack Skille

Defensive pairs

Alex Edler-Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa-Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton-Nikita Tryamkin

Goaltender

Ryan Miller

Injuries

Derek Dorsett (neck), Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Anton Rodin (knee), Loui Eriksson (lower body), Nikolay Goldobin (flu), Markus Granlund (wrist)

Is Dylan Sikura on the outside looking in with Blackhawks?

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USA Today

Is Dylan Sikura on the outside looking in with Blackhawks?

The Blackhawks divided practice into two groups on Thursday and Friday. One of them was filled with NHL players. The other was loaded with prospects.

Dylan Sikura found himself in the first group with the prospects, and it's hard not to read into what that could mean about his standing with the team as the coaching staff looks to finalize its 23-man roster over the next two weeks.

Once thought of as a highly-touted prospect coming out of college, Sikura put up strong numbers in the AHL last season but his offensive production hasn't translated to the NHL level.

Part of that is because he was put in favorable situations in college and Rockford, where he played first-line minutes and was the go-to guy on the top power play unit. It was difficult for him to get those same opportunities in Chicago when players like Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are viewed as the heavy lifters on offense.

When the Blackhawks traded Dominik Kahun to the Pittsburgh Penguins in June for defenseman Olli Maatta, GM Stan Bowman felt he was able to pull the trigger on that trade because he was confident that there were players in-house ready for bigger roles and that could fill Kahun's skates. Bowman singled out Sikura specifically.

“Looking at some of our young players that are getting ready to take on a bigger role, you can look at guys like Dylan Sikura,” Bowman said at the time. “He didn't have the offensive success at the NHL level but I liked the way he played when he was with us last year in Chicago. It felt like his game was real effective other than the production part. Then when he was in Rockford I really liked the way he was able to score down there. So I think he's not far from being a guy and he's got sort of a similar skill set that Dominik has.”

Bowman is right. When Sikura was on the ice at 5-on-5 last season, the Blackhawks controlled 55.4 percent of the shot attempts and 53.2 percent of the scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. When he wasn't on the ice, those numbers dropped to 47.7 and 45.5, respectively. 

But through 38 career games with the Blackhawks, Sikura is still looking for his first career NHL goal and he knows it's a results-oriented business.

“It's obviously something you think about every now and then and it's tough but I thought there was spurts last year where I was really good," Sikura said. "And even though I wasn't scoring I was still playing and put in situations playing with top guys, so I think all that is going to help me in the long run. Coach always says you end up getting rewarded for what you deserve and I think if I continue to work away from the puck and work on that side of the game then the offense will come."

Sikura survived the first wave of cuts, which consisted of six players. But the next round is expected to be bigger and should come this weekend with the IceHogs training camp beginning Sunday.

Whether Sikura is part of that remains to be seen, but with a crowded forward group already and limited spots available, he might have to wait for his chance again mid-season.

“You always got to be ready, if it's going to be here to start the season or down there, you always got to be ready to go,” Sikura said. “You saw last year, I think when you're down there sometimes you don't think you're coming up then next day you get a call, so you always got to be ready and working on your game. It's a little bit of different hockey down there, but you've got to do the little things and I think my game kind of changes down there a little, but to stick up here I've got to do the little things and hopefully it all works out."

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Blackhawks make first wave of roster cuts in 2019 training camp

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Detroit Red Wings

Blackhawks make first wave of roster cuts in 2019 training camp

After starting training camp with 55 players, the Blackhawks made their first wave of roster cuts on Friday and they weren't very surprising.

Forwards Nathan Noel, Graham Knott, Tyler Sikura, Tim Soderlund, Dylan McLaughlin, Kris Versteeg and defensemen Chad Krys, Jack Ramsey and Jake Ryczek were re-assigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Goaltender Alexis Gravel was also returned to his junior team, the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The Blackhawks training camp roster now sits at 45 players: 26 forwards, 14 defensemen and five goaltenders.

The IceHogs kick off their training camp on Sunday, so expect the Blackhawks to make more roster moves before then. Saturday's preseason game against the Boston Bruins could serve as the final opportunity for some of the bubble players to make an impression before the organization makes their next round of cuts.

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