Blackhawks

Patrick Kane explains his unique chemistry with Artemi Panarin

Patrick Kane explains his unique chemistry with Artemi Panarin

Even though the NHL announced a plan for pro hockey to return this summer, for now we’re still left to watch classic games on our couches, remembering the good times.

Men’s Journal spoke with Patrick Kane recently to rehash some of those good times, including his high-powered offensive years playing alongside Artemi Panarin.

Last month, Kane made waves by saying skating on the same line with Panarin was the "funnest hockey" he's ever played.

How could that be when he'd won three Cups with other teams and linemates, but he never even won as much as a single playoff series alongside the Breadman?

“After I said that I thought about it a little bit and I didn’t want that to-- I don’t know if that came across the right way,” Kane said. “Those years from 2009-2015 for me, that was so fun… playing on winning, Stanley Cup champion teams, that’s as fun as it’s going to get.

"When I was playing with Panarin I felt like, for me personally, that was like ‘this is how hockey should be played.’ This was just two players combining their talents and having the chemistry... it wasn't like anything was planned or set in stone. We just figured it out on the go. Then after 10 or 15 games you figure out the spots you want to go to.

“It became pretty natural playing with him. It was really, really fun hockey playing with him for those two years. For me personally, that was the most chemistry I’ve probably had with someone, just natural, instinctive chemistry to play that hockey with someone.

“I’m glad I got to do that with him.”

RELATED: Patrick Kane shares how he's spending time during stay-at-home orders

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Blackhawks preparing for a more desperate Oilers team in Game 2

Blackhawks preparing for a more desperate Oilers team in Game 2

No one expected to be talking about a desperate Edmonton Oilers team — the home ice squad and No. 5 seed in the Western Conference with the league's top two leaders in points during the regular season — trying to keep the No. 12 seed Blackhawks from running away with the Stanley Cup Qualifiers series, but here we are.

It was just one game, but one game is a world of difference in a best-of-five series, which the qualifiers are. A possible Blackhawks' Game 2 victory puts the hometown Oilers in serious trouble.

The Hawks don't expect the Oilers just to be more desperate because of a Game 1 loss, but how Edmonton lost.

Related: Dominik Kubalik and Jonathan Toews lift Blackhawks over Oilers in Game 1

After Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored on a power play 2:34 into the contest, things were looking great for Edmonton and Chicago looked outclassed early on. Then, the Blackhawks scored four-unanswered first-period goals and went on to win 6-4.

"I don’t think it’s ever too soon (to say that)," Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton said of the possibility of the Oilers playing more desperately in Game 2 on Monday. "Last game was very important. We understood it was pivotal and now here comes another one. We’d be naïve if we don’t think they’re going to throw everything they have at us. They’re a good team, they’ve had good results all year, have some tremendous top-end weapons and we respect them fully and know we have to play our absolute best to give ourselves a chance to win. That’s how we’re approaching it."

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The win was more lopsided than the score would suggest. After Hawks rookie Dominik Kubalik's first of two second-period power play goals, the Blackhawks chased Oilers goalie Mike Smith out of the game after his fifth allowed goal.

On Monday, Oilers coach Dave Tippett announced Mikko Koskinen would start in net for Edmonton in Game 2.

The Hawks were able to outclass McDavid and Leon Draisaitl's Oilers on Saturday. But Monday is far from a guaranteed W. It's not just a more desperate team the Blackhawks should be facing, but the talent and skill underneath the expected emotion and purpose.

Edmonton's power play looked just like it did during the regular season when it was the best in the league, going 3-for-4 in Game 1 with McDavid and Draisaitl getting a goal apiece on the man advantage. The Hawks matched with three power-play goals out of six attempts in the contest.

Related: How long can Blackhawks experience 'all-time high' morale in postseason?

Chicago's core members have experienced just about everything that can happen in a postseason. They will likely set the tone for the even-keeled mindset needed for Game 2.

"I think there’s a lot of experience in the room, a lot of core guys have been to a lot of playoff runs," Blackhawks defenseman Olli Maatta, who won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins before coming to Chicago, said. "They know it’s only Game 1, but we have to feel good about what we’ve done. After every game, win or loss, you have to look at the good things and fix the things you can be better at. We won Game 1, it’s a good start, but this game starts 0-0. It shows how good of a team we are when we play the game the right way. It’s just the way we’ve got to do it every day."

Game 2 between the Hawks and Oilers begins at 9:30 p.m. CT on Monday.

NHL releases COVID-19 test results from first week in bubbles

NHL releases COVID-19 test results from first week in bubbles

On Monday, the NHL announced that after completion of the first week of Phase 4 of the Return To Play program there were zero positive COVID-19 test results between July 27 and August 1.

The league noted a total of 7,013 tests were administered to team staff and players making up each organization's 52-member traveling parties in hub cities Edmonton and Toronto. The tests were conducted daily.

Phase 4 began when clubs entered the hub cities on July 26 for the NHL's 24-team postseason.

There were reportedly also zero positive tests before teams left for the hub cities as well.

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