Blackhawks

Kane embraces being center of attention

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Kane embraces being center of attention

It was less than two weeks ago when Joel Quenneville dropped the news in an oh-by-the-way fashion in Detroit: he was going to try Patrick Kane at center. It was an experiment, a chance to see what Kane, who had played center growing up, could do with it at this level.

It was surprising to hear. Even Kane, who said general manager Stan Bowman talked to him about playing center last summer, sounded a bit reluctant.

"Especially coming off the wrist injury I thought I was going right to right wing and just getting back into that," Kane said Wednesday. "But it's been good so far."

It's been so good that it's carrying over to Friday's season opener, when Kane will center his line with Andrew Brunette and Marian Hossa when the Blackhawks play the Dallas Stars. Coach Joel Quenneville has liked what he's seen from that trio -- Kane and Hossa have a natural chemistry and Brunette is finding his niche with them -- and how Kane's adjusted.

"He'll continue to grow in that area but his instincts ard good on both sides," Quenneville said after the Blackhawks' preseason finale in Washington D.C. "He'll improve in his position down low."

For Kane, this has been one more job to add to the resume. It was one thing to have a center past as a kid, another to do it at this level. But his comfort level with Hossa has helped, and Hossa and Brunette have assisted him with the down-low play.

"We've talked about it, the three of us. We all have pretty good experience.They're down low first and they'll stay there and come up with pucks," Kane said. "Offensively hopefully we can just work our magic and be a good line."

Bowman, who is confident with the Blackhawks' depth at center, never doubted Kane's ability to play there.

"He's such a smart player," Bowman said. "I like watching him play with Marian. The one difficulty we've had is those two never played together because they played the same position. We like how that's worked so far."

Linemate Brunette said "the center has the puck a lot and that falls right into his strengths. It's a tough position in your own end, and that's probably something he feels the need to get used to. But it's something he can definitely do."

It sounds like Kane is embracing this challenge more now than a few weeks ago. He has said he wants to prove to others and to himself that he can play this spot.

It would still be surprising if Kane's at center come the end of the season. Then again, the experiment that seemed likely to last just a preseason game or two is continuing. As long as it works, Kane will stay put.

"Starting the regular season we'll do it a little bit," Kane said. "It would be nice to prove I can play center, that I can play a couple different positions, show some versatility for the coaches. There have been some good things and bad things. Hopefully I keep getting better at it."

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

2020 NHL Draft: Winner of No. 1 pick revealed at Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery

2020 NHL Draft: Winner of No. 1 pick revealed at Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery

After the No. 1 pick went to a placeholder team — that would be eliminated in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in the NHL's 24-team postseason under the Return to Play program — in Phase 1 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery in June, the top pick for the 2020 NHL Draft was awarded to an actual team in Phase 2 of the lottery on Monday. 

The New York Rangers won the No. 1 overall pick for the 2020 NHL Draft on Monday during Phase 2 of the lottery.

The Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets were also in the running and all had a 12.5% chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick along with the Rangers in Phase 2 of the Draft Lottery.

The No. 1 pick of this year's draft is expected to be forward Alexis Lafrenière, who registered 35 goals and 77 assists for a league-leading 112 points in 52 games this season with the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL, where he also served as the team captain. 

No team has held the No. 1 pick finishing better than 26th in the standings since the 1995 NHL Draft, and no team made the top pick after playing in a postseason series since the Minnesota North Stars in the 1983 NHL Draft.

The 2020 NHL Draft is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. It was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which paused the NHL on March 12.

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How to watch Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights Stanley Cup Playoffs: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights Stanley Cup Playoffs: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

There's nothing like playoff hockey. 

After defeating the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round, the Blackhawks are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season. 

In the first round, the Hawks will go up against the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights. 

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We have all the details on how to watch and stream the games. 

Game 1
When:
Tuesday, Aug. 11
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: 9:30 p.m. CT
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

Game 2
When:
 Thursday, Aug. 13
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: 4:30 p.m. CT
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

Game 3
When:
 Saturday, Aug. 15
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: 7 p.m. CT
TV Channel: NBC 
Note: NBC Sports Chicago will have Blackhawks Pregame at 6:30 p.m. CT before puck drop, and Blackhawks Postgame Live immediately following the game. 

Download the Blackhawks schedule and coverage details to your device.

Game 4
When:
 Sunday, Aug. 16
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: 5:30 p.m.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

*if necessary*
Game 5
When:
 Tuesday, Aug. 18
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

*if necessary*
Game 6
When:
 Thursday, Aug. 20
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

*if necessary*
Game 7
When:
 Saturday, Aug. 22
Where: Rogers Place
Puck drop: TBD
TV Channel: NBC Sports Chicago
Live Stream: MyTeams App (stream)

Throughout the entire series, Blackhawks Pregame Live will air 30 minutes before puck drop on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming on the MyTeams app. Blackhawks Postgame Live will air immediately after each game. 

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