Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
By Tracey Myers
Patrick Kane was moving around the ice much like the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks were on Friday morning: quick, spirited, with plenty of pace.
The Blackhawks used this five-day hiatus to rest, regroup and get their legs back. That goes double for Kane, whos still working back from left ankle injury he sustained on Dec. 5 against Calgary. And while hes still not 100 percent, Kane is feeling good and ready for this weekends games against up-tempo Detroit and Philadelphia.
Ive been doing some different things with it and it feels pretty good on the ice, said Kane. Just doing exercises, (working on) a lot of different machines. Obviously practice is different than game action. Its a little bit away to get 100 percent but Im happy with the progress.
It was a good break for Kane. Quenneville said the break also helped Marian Hossa, who suffered upper and lower-body injuries in the first half, and both he and Kane were looking ready to go.
I would say (the break) can only help, Quenneville said. (Kane) went into the break on a high note, hes played well the last few games. Hossas coming around as well.
Quenneville said the rests effect on the team was evident these past two practices, which the coach said could be the Blackhawks best this season.
Pace. Yesterdays pace was excellent as well, Quenneville said. Theres crispness with the puck, good speed and energy. The thing we stressed recently is the pace of our team game, and we reinforced with practice.
The Blackhawks will get plenty of pace from Detroit and Philadephia this weekend. Kane said hes especially looking forward to tempo likely coming this weekend to get a good idea of where his game is.
Nashville was a different opponent; you sit back with that patient game. These next two will be more my style, up-tempo, fast, and hopefully that helps for me, Kane said. You always want to play better and keep getting better. I think Im heading in the right direction so thats good.
The Blackhawks are back to business on Saturday and Sunday. This weekend will truly let them know how much the rest and pace-filled practices helped.
The freshness and crispness, everybody looks 100 percent or as close as youre going to get right now, Quenneville said. So lets take advantage of it.
Wheres the puck
With the Flyers coming back to Chicago for the first time since the Stanley Cup Finals, the once-burning question returns: what happened to that Cup-winning puck?
I havent heard much about it lately, Kane said. It was a big question at the beginning of the year. I know some restaurants in Chicago putting up big money for it. From what I heard, it never showed up.
Corey Crawford will start in net for the Blackhawks on Saturday.
The Red Wings signed Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year deal on Thursday. But the former San Jose goaltender has to clear waivers, where he was placed at noon EST on Friday, before joining Detroit.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.