By Steve Konroyd
With Jonathan Toews on the shelf for the last 2 weeks, Patrick Kane has taken a large stride forward in his leadership role on this team. With impressive performances in back-to-back games against Toronto and Ottawa, the Buffalo native is leading this team by example.
He was the best player on the ice in both of those games, and it should come as no surprise to those who know his background. As a junior with the London Knights he centered one of the all-time explosive lines in Ontario Hockey League history when he put up 145 points playing with Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers and Andrei Kostitsyn of the Nashville Predators, prior to joining the Blackhawks.
I chatted with Kaner after the Toronto win and he talked about the fact that he has the puck a lot more as a center. As a result, he is more in control of the play, especially in the offensive zone. Here we get to see his wizardry and artistry with linemates Marian Hossa and Andrew Brunette. If Kane has it, he's looking for Hossa and if Hossa has it, he's looking for Kane.
It reminds me of the intuition we see between the Sedin twins in Vancouver. All of this is good news for the Blackhawks. They have a No. 1 line that is putting fear into the opposition, and they have a No. 1 overall pick who is becoming a leader on this team.