Each day for the rest of the year, Second City Hockey will countdown the top 10 Blackhawks stories of 2018.
Here are the five honorable mentions:
March 29 was a crazy day for the Blackhawks.
It was Brent Seabrook’s 1,000th NHL game. Dylan Sikura made his NHL debut. Anton Forsberg sustained an injury hours before puck drop, forcing Collin Delia to make his NHL debut.
But then Delia, who stopped 25 of 27 shots, left the game in the third period due to cramping, which led to emergency backup goaltender Scott Foster entering the game against the Jets. Foster, a 36-year-old beer league netminder, stopped all seven shots he saw in Chicago’s 6-2 win and was named the game’s No. 1 star.
Patrick Kane dominates World Championship
Let’s be honest, you forgot about this didn’t you?
In May, Kane earned World Championship MVP honors after leading the tournament with 20 points during the United States’ bronze-medal run. His point total tied Dany Heatley for the most points in any World Championship in the last 40 years. Kane, who was the American captain, also set a new U.S. record for most points scored in a single World Championship tournament.
IceHogs playoff run
Before Jeremy Colliton was the head coach for the Blackhawks, he guided the IceHogs to a 40-28-4-4 record and Rockford’s first Western Conference Final appearance. The IceHogs earned the fourth seed for the Central Division, and swept the No. 1-seeded Chicago Wolves, 3-0, then the No. 3-seeded Manitoba Moose, 4-0, for seven straight playoff wins to reach the Western Conference Final.
After falling 3-0, Rockford won two straight to stay alive before falling in overtime in Game 6. Four of the six games in the series went to overtime.
Less than 24 hours after his college career ending for Northeastern University, Dylan Sikura finally signed with the Blackhawks in March. The 2014 sixth-round pick was publicly non-committal about his future a month before hand, but Bowman remained adamant he would sign. Sikura had a stellar senior season for Northeastern, scoring 20 goals with 32 assists while leading the NCAA with 13 power-play goals.
Sikura had three assists in five NHL games last season, and had a strong training camp but didn’t make the NHL roster to start the 2018-19 season. He plugged away in the AHL, scoring nine goals and 18 points in 26 games before he was called up earlier this month. In seven NHL games this season, he has two assists while playing on the third line.
July 1 veteran signings/not using cap space
For the first time in some time, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman entered the offseason with some salary cap flexibility. But Bowman and Co. opted to sign three veteran players in forward Chris Kunitz (1 year, $1 million), defenseman Brandon Manning (2 years, $4.5 million) and goaltender Cam Ward (1 year, $3 million) instead of going after a prized free agent. The 39-year-old Kunitz and 34-year-old Ward both have won the Stanley Cup at least once, and were given no-movement clauses.
Kunitz (two assists) and Manning( one goal, two assists) have struggled to find playing time under Colliton as they’ve both been a healthy scratch several times in December. Ward, however, has proven to be a stable goalie in the absence of Corey Crawford, at the beginning of the season and in December after another concussion.