ST. LOUIS – Patrick Kane’s play dazzles a lot of people. Include coaches in there, too.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock still marvels at the game the Chicago Blackhawks right wing possesses, how he’s gotten better every season, and how he seems to elude contact.
[RELATED: Blackhawks look to play more keep-away against the Blues]
“I don’t get how he plays, how you go around the ice for 60 minutes and no one touches you, but he does it,” said Hitchcock, who has noticed the difference between Kane now and Kane of a few years ago when Hitchcock coached against him in the World Championships. “To see where he’s at now as a player from there is incredible. He’s a hell of a player and a hell of a competitor.”
Kane will likely have trouble eluding the Blues, however. St. Louis will bring the physical presence it usually does, and will do whatever it takes to slow Kane down. He’s expecting it.
[MORE: How Cardinals-Pirates will help Chicago fans attending Blackhawks-Blues]
“I don’t expect to go 60 minutes and not get hit tonight,” he said. “It’s about trying to get to the net, find dirty ways to get chances on net or score goals against these guys. I’ll expect that, expect them to be physical on me. I just have to be ready for it.”
Hitchcock has praised Kane several times in the past. When Kane was moved to center in 2011, Hitchcock, who had just taken over for the Blues at the time, said, “it’s the worst nightmare for all of us. It’s not good.”
Kane’s stay at center didn’t last past that 2011-12 season – let’s face it, he’s better on the wing. But at center, on the wing, wherever, those moves remain stunning to onlookers and frustrating for opponents.
[RELATED: Blues appear to be Blackhawks' main rival now]
“He’s one of those guys: you see him, you don’t see him, we have picture in screens, he’s in the picture, no he’s not, where the hell is he, oh, he’s on the breakaway,” Hitchcock said. “To watch him go from where he was in 2008 or ‘09 to now is pretty impressive.”