Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane to captain Team USA at 2019 IIHF World Championship

Patrick Kane to captain Team USA at 2019 IIHF World Championship

For the second straight year, Patrick Kane will captain Team USA at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.

"It's great to have Patrick back and captaining our team again in the world championship," said U.S. men’s national team head coach Jeff Blashill in a press release. "He's one of the most dynamic players in the game today and passionate about helping bring a gold medal home to our country."

Kane is coming off a career offensive season with the Blackhawks, finishing third in the league’s scoring race with 110 points and second in even-strength goals with 35.

Last year, the 30-year-old superstar led Team USA to a bronze medal when it beat Canada 4-1. He finished the tournament with eight goals and 12 assists in 10 games, becoming the second player in 30 years to record at least 20 points.

“Just to play some more hockey, play some meaningful hockey, too,” Kane said in April on the possibility of playing in the Worlds. “It was a really fun tournament for me to play with some good players and even have more of a leadership role as well with that team. It was a young team and a lot of fun playing there, too. And then you’re also representing your country, playing for the USA. So that was exciting, too. USA’s never won that tournament, so it’d be fun to be part of the first team that did.”

The tournament is scheduled to run from May 10-26 in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia. USA will release its preliminary roster later this week, which could include Alex DeBrincat.

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Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Forwards

Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Forwards

At the All-Star break when we revealed our midseason grades, the Blackhawks were 29th in the entire NHL with a points percentage of .441. But that's right around the time where they started to turn around their season.

From Jan. 20 and on, the Blackhawks finished fifth in points percentage (.652). Only the Tampa Bay Lightning (.788), St. Louis Blues (.743), Boston Bruins (.727) and Carolina Hurricanes (.714) had a higher clip, all of whom are in the playoffs. The Blackhawks were in that position because their star players strapped the team on their back.

Alex DeBrincat scored a career-high 41 goals, Patrick Kane finished third in the NHL's scoring race with 110 points and Jonathan Toews set a career high in all three scoring categories: goals (35), assists (46) and points (81). They became the first trio in Blackhawks history to score at least 35 goals in the same season since 1987-88 when Steve Larmer (41), Denis Savard (44) and Rick Vaive (43) did so.

While the depth scoring from their forward group did get a little better in the second half thanks to the additions of Drake Caggiula, Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome that helped balance out the lines, they didn't get enough of it throughout the season and it was one of the reasons the Blackhawks' top players ran out of gas down the stretch. That needs to change next season and it likely will.

The Blackhawks are expected to have north of $15 million in cap space to spend in free agency and could draft an immediate impact-type player at No. 3 overall in the 2019 NHL Draft after the ping pong balls bounced in their favor. That could be a game-changer.

The Blackhawks know what they have in DeBrincat, Kane, Strome and Toews. Even Brandon Saad, who turned in a 23-goal campaign. Now it's about building around that core group up front so the minutes can be more evenly distributed. If that happens next season, this grade will look different a year from now.

Grade: C+

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Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane reflects on NHL career and where he sees himself in 10 years

Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane reflects on NHL career and where he sees himself in 10 years

When he turned 30 years of age in November, Patrick Kane said he's never felt better. And he backed it up on the ice.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion and former Hart Trophy winner finished with a career-high 110 points this season and averaged 22:29 of ice time per game, which is the highest mark of his NHL career. 

NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick sat down with the Blackhawks' superstar at NHL All-Star weekend in San Jose to reflect on Kane's career to this point and where it's headed. Can No. 88 get even better?

"Yeah, I think so," Kane said. "I am excited about where my game's at, I'm excited about where I can go. I always feel like even when you have a good game, you know how it is, always feel like there are a couple plays here or there you could have had and you come out of a game with a couple points you say I should have had a couple more, right? So that's always the mentality. You are never really satisfied, but I always feel there is room to grow. I think there is another level to my game I can even get to."

That's a scary thought, Roenick responds for all of us.

"You know what, I really believe it," Kane said. "I think it’s the truth too, I wouldn’t be saying it just to say it. I think I learned a lot under Joel [Quenneville]. Obviously we have a new coach in Jeremy Colliton, learned a lot from him so far. He thinks I have another level to my game as well, so it's fun to hear."

Kane just wrapped up his 12th NHL season. This is where players begin to reach the back nine of their careers, but there may be an exception for superstars like Kane who tend to get better with age.

So where does he see himself in 10 years?

"I don't know, it's crazy, it feels like yesterday I was in Montreal playing in that All-Star Game, so you say 10 years from now it's like how fast time goes," Kane said. "But I don't know, I like that name 'Showtime,' that's a pretty fun name so hopefully can entertain like you did for as long as I can I guess."

Check out the interview below:


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