Blackhawks

Patrick Kane ready to focus on hockey after point streak ends

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Patrick Kane ready to focus on hockey after point streak ends

Patrick Kane is human after all.

After a remarkable 26-game point streak, the Blackhawks forward was held pointless — as was the rest of the team — in a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

It was only the third time this season Kane was held off the scoresheet, and he's ready to turn the attention back to winning hockey games.

"It was a good run," Kane said after the game. "Didn't have it tonight. Now I can just focus on playing hockey. It'll be nice not to talk about it anymore. When you have to talk about it every day, it gets a little taxing.

"I'm excited just to play hockey now," he reiterated.

[MORE: Patrick Kane's point streak ends as Blackhawks blanked by Avs]

During the run, Kane had 16 goals and 24 assists, including a seven-game goal-scoring streak and 10 multi-point games.

He set a new record for longest point streak by an American-born player — which was previously 18 games by Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk — and also broke the franchise record, passing Bobby Hull's 21-game point streak in a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 6.

Before Tuesday, the last time Kane failed to record a point in a game was Oct. 15 in a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

That was 61 days ago.

"Amazing, amazing streak," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Commend him on the consistency and preparation. I’m sure it was challenging with the stress and trying to sustain it late in games. And then all of a sudden the attention he’s getting from the opponents and then making sure that he touches it when we’re in the offensive zone. So there’s a lot of things that were going on, but the fact that he was able to sustain it for this strength or this length of time was amazing.

"It was pretty spectacular in today’s game to be on the board for 26 games. ... I've maybe been around some different situations, but I've never been around a streak like that. It was fun."

Kane currently leads the NHL in points with 46, in large part because of his consistency to accumulate points on a nightly basis.

Wayne Gretzky called Kane's streak "exceptional." Mike Modano said he'd been following Kane and his streak, even if it meant catching highlights on YouTube when he couldn't catch it live.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The 21,473 fans at the United Center on Tuesday were hoping Kane could scrape out a point in any form toward the final minutes of the game like he had recently done in the past.

But the magic ran out.

"It was a fun run," Kane said, reflecting one last time on the streak. "You never know what's going to happen with the streak. There were a lot of games where it seemed like I was down and out and you end up getting something at the end or whatever it may be. It was fun breaking the American record, I was happy with that, and to break the franchise record, too, that was pretty special as well so it was definitely fun while it lasted."

Kane's 26-game point streak is the longest since Mats Sundin's 30-game point streak in 1992-93. Is it possible for Kane — or any other player, for that matter — to go on another run like that?

"You never know," Quenneville smiled and said half-jokingly. "But the attention that top guys get, it's tough to do it game in, game out."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

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With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.