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FEATURE: The Inseparable Duo of Strome and DeBrincat

Nearly a year after being reunited in Chicago, former juniors teammates turned Blackhawks linemates go together like salt and pepper

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome are about as close as teammates can get, having formed a friendship years ago while playing together in juniors before re-uniting on the Blackhawks.

So naturally when DeBrincat recently moved out of the building in which the players each lived, he asked Strome to lend a hand, right?

"No, no, no," DeBrincat said. "I don't think he would have. I did that by myself and let him sit on his couch."

Was Strome surprised he didn't get a call from DeBrincat to help with the move?

"No," Strome said. "I wouldn't have helped him anyway."

Really, though, the Blackhawks forwards are thick as thieves even if they are at other sides of the spectrum in the personality department.

"We're pretty much opposites," Strome said. "I feel like I'm pretty loud and he's pretty quiet. He likes very plain things and likes to go to the same restaurants and do the same things all the time while I like to switch it up and try to go to different places and do different things."

No argument from DeBrincat, who is Strome's roommate during Blackhawks road trips.

"He's very goofy - he just does stupid things," DeBrincat said of Strome. "He's a guy who is always going to bring life to the party and be joking around. We're very different people but I like to hang around him and get a few laughs in. We know when each of us is getting sick of the other so then we'll back off a bit. I can't explain why it works but it does."

While different personality-wise, the duo goes together much like salt and pepper, which is apropos considering the Blackhawks will distribute DeBrincat and Strome salt & pepper shakers to the first 10,000 fans who enter the United Center for Tuesday night's game against the Hurricanes.

Not surprisingly, Strome has an opinion on which one of them is salt and which is pepper.

"I feel like he's salt because he's like very plain and salt is plain," Strome said with a grin. "I'm like a little different so I think I'm pepper."

"Yeah, that makes sense," DeBrincat said.

While DeBrincat and Strome clearly aren't afraid to chirp each another, there is a deep respect for the kinship they share. It was cultivated while they were teammates for three seasons with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League from 2014-17.

They took separate paths to the Blackhawks with DeBrincat being drafted in the second round (39th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft and Strome arriving via a trade with the Coyotes along with Brendan Perlini for Nick Schmaltz almost one year ago - Nov. 25, 2018.

Having a familiar face when he hit town helped Strome quickly adapt to his new surroundings and team.

"Obviously, it changed a lot in my life when I came here," Strome said. "Hockey started to become fun again and I started to enjoy it. I think a lot of that is to (DeBrincat's) credit. I enjoy playing with him and being around the room with him and having good chemistry. When you that connection it's fun to be around.

"Hockey is a lot of fun off the ice when you're doing well on the ice," Strome added. "When we were doing well back in junior and having fun on the ice our connection off the ice was strong and it's the same thing here. We're having fun on the ice so it keeps the mood light in the room and after a game when we win. It's just have fun and be friends."

The 21-year-old DeBrincat said it's beneficial to have a friend and teammate around the same age (Strome is 22) so they can relate to one another through the trials and tribulations that come along during a long hockey season.

"It's good to have a guy that's around the same situation as you that can really relate to what you're going through," DeBrincat said. "Every day is not going to be great and when there's a problem to have a guy in a similar situation makes it easier."

On the ice, DeBrincat and Strome have thrived while skating on a line with Patrick Kane. That trio has been the spark that has helped lead the Blackhawks to four consecutive victories, including a 4-1 thrashing of the Sabres on Sunday night at the United Center.

"Our numbers are a lot better when we're together than when we're apart," Strome said of being on the same line as DeBrincat. "Obviously, we like playing together."

Video: Bud Light Friendship Test - Strome and DeBrincat Pt 1

Video: Bud Light Friendship Test - Strome and DeBrincat Pt 2

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