Stan Mikita has no recollection of Blackhawks memories


Stan Mikita has no recollection of Blackhawks memories

Stan Mikita is the Blackhawks' all-time scoring leader with 1,467 points, a Stanley Cup champion, and a Hockey Hall of Famer. But he has no recollection of those memories.

The Blackhawks legend is suffering from Lewy body dementia. The Mikita family released a statement in January with the news, but Stan's wife, Jill, recently told Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc that "the Stan we knew is gone."

"His mind is completely gone," said Jill. "I don't like to use that term but there's no other way to describe it."

Family members of Mikita, friends, and former players visit Stan often. But it's certainly not the same as it used to be.

"It was really hard to see him that way," said Denis Savard. "Knowing Stan all these years and just to see him the way he is now is really heartbreaking. When I see him, I don't see him unhappy because I don't think he knows what's going on and that way it kind of comforts me somewhat."

[RELATED: Joel Quenneville, Blackhawks lend support to Stan Mikita]

On a day where the Blackhawks can win their third Stanley Cup in six years, Mikita isn't aware of any of it.

"He doesn't know he's missing out, he has no idea," Jill said. "If he was terminally ill and his mind was intact then I think I would be heartbroken. But right now, he has no idea."

The Blackhawks offered their support to Mikita when they found out the news midway through the regular season. 

“Obviously he’s a big part of this family, the history of what it means to be a Blackhawk. You don’t feel the privilege to play for the Hawks if it’s not for people and players like Stan Mikita,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “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. Our thoughts are definitely with him and his family.”

Mikita played for the Blackhawks for his entire 22-year career. He had his number raised to the rafters on Oct. 19, 1980 and had a bronze statue - along with Bobby Hull - unveiled outside of the United Center in October of 2011.

Blackhawks record 500th consecutive sellout at United Center

USA Today

Blackhawks record 500th consecutive sellout at United Center

The Blackhawks have had many ups over the last decade-plus, highlighted by three Stanley Cups. They've also had some downs recently, missing the playoffs for two seasons in a row after nine straight appearances.

But the fan support hasn't wavered.

On Monday against the Edmonton Oilers, the Blackhawks announced a crowd of 21,260, which became their 500th consecutive sellout at the United Center (436 regular season, 64 postseason). The NHL record is held by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are at 572 games and counting. 

The Blackhawks have led the league in attendance for 11 straight seasons, which started during the 2008-09 campaign.

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Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

The Blackhawks wanted to get off to a strong start this season because they know how hard it is to climb out of a hole in the Central Division. Last season was proof of that.

Well, they've picked up only one out of a possible six points through three games and are one of three teams still searching for their first victory of the season. But they're not going into panic mode just yet.

"We know there's things we have to improve upon," Jonathan Toews said. "Jeremy [Colliton] always talks about doing the right thing and over time eventually you're going to get results. I don't know if we can say we're doing things the right things that we want to and we're playing complete games right now, so even having said that, midway through the San Jose game and even against Winnipeg we were in a position to take control of the game going into the third period and we let teams back in. So I think there's a lot of ways we can play better.

"But having said that we're in those games and giving ourselves a chance to win. Obviously that's not good enough, but we're not going to freak out and say, 'we've got to start winning games.' Of course that's the goal, we wanted to get two points the other night."

The quest to pick up their first two points of the season doesn't get any easier for the Blackhawks on Monday night. The Edmonton Oilers are coming to town with a 5-0-0 record, and they're clicking on all cylinders. They have the second-best power play unit (41.2 percent), second-best penalty kill percentage (94.1), the NHL's leading point-getter in Connor McDavid (12) and leading goal scorer in James Neal (seven).

The Blackhawks know at some point they have to start stringing together some wins, but they're not living and dying by the standings right now because everything looks out of proportion. They're focused on the process and putting together a full 60-minute effort.

"It's always magnified at the start of the year," Colliton said. "Your special teams, you got [teams] with 100 percent PK, you got [teams] with 40 percent power play, and all the little things they look way bigger than they are. Would be nice for us to get a win, get some positive feelings but any three-game window among the 82, it's not going to be looked upon as closely as this one.

"So again, we've just got to focus on playing hard, playing the game the right way, do the right thing time and time again and we'll get the results." 

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