Joined The Blackhawks
At the end of the 1958-59 season, Mikita joined the Blackhawks for three games, and the following season jointed the Blackhawks full time. In his first years in the NHL, Mikita played an antagonistic style of hockey. He tried to make up for his small stature (only 5'9" and 165 lbs.) and lack of scoring output in his first full season (only eight goals) by fighting, tripping, and hooking all the time. In his first full season with Chicago, Mikita had 119 penalty minutes. He was soon given the nickname "La Petite Diable" ("The Little Devil") for his belligerent personality on the ice.
Mikita was not the only Blackhawk who played like that. The team had a reputation for using physical force to make up for lack of scoring. But the team was on the rise, improving because of their farm system, good trades, and a skilled general manager in Tommy Ivan. Though Mikita had a problem with penalties, as he matured in his game he showed he was a passionate competitor who wanted to win and inspired his teammates. He played on the so-called "Scooter Line" with Ken Wharram and Ab McDonald, a checking line that could score, for nearly ten years. Mikita also used his brain. As William Barry Furlong wrote in Sports Illustrated in 1962, "Not as burly as Montreal's big Center Jean Beliveau, not as fast as Montreal's little Center Henri Richard, Mikita brilliantly compensates with terror, wit and perception.… Mikita not only thinks well but well ahead." With Bobby Hull, Mikita was responsible for reviving the undistinguished franchise.