Feb 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) with the puck during the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Boyle of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago and NBC sports are reporting that Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane could be cleared for contact on Monday. Boyle stated that means Kane will be probable for Game 1 against Nashville on Wednesday April 15th.
Kane has not appeared in a NHL game since being injured on February 24th. Kane suffered a broken clavicle that night and was expected to miss 12 weeks. Kane has progressed so much in his recovery that reports had surfaced last week that Kane might be ready for the first round of the plays. Coach Quenneville stated that Kane was progressing real well. Coach Quenneville went onto say this about Kane, “Every day it seems like he’s getting a little stronger. His skating has always been fine, he’s handling the puck extremely well”. Coach Quenneville made that in an interview with the Chicago Tribune last week.
Despite those reports nobody expected Kane to be ready for the first round of the playoffs. The conservative estimate was the Western Conference Final round of the playoffs. Kane is coming back at exactly the right time for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are in desperate need of Kane. The Blackhawks have lost four games in a row entering the playoffs. The Blackhawks have scored four goals in their last four games and LOST all of them.
While the entire team has felt the loss of Kane on the offensive end of the ice, Kris Versteeg and Brad Richards have really been negatively affected. Since Kane’s injury Versteeg has two assists and one goal in 19 games. Richards is a similar story, he has two goals and two assists in 18 games. Versteeg was having a bounce back season while playing with Kane. Once Kane got injured, he went into the TANK. Richards had his best stretches with the Blackhawks while playing with Kane.
To say the Blackhawks need Kane is an understatement. Hopefully his return is enough to revitalize stagnant Blackhawks offense. Expectations will be high on Kane when he returns to the ice, but not forget he has not played in a game since February 24th. Before his injury Kane was having his best offensive season. Kane scored 27 goals and 37 assists in 61 games.
The Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators Aprils 15th at 7:30pm.
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