Everyone now knows Patrick Kane is more than capable at playing center. So with Marcus Kruger still sidelined and Brandon Pirri reassigned to Rockford, the Blackhawks will turn to Kane again for that No. 2 center spot.
Kane was centering a line with Patrick Sharp and Viktor Stalberg on Thursday as the Blackhawks prepared for Friday nights game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Pirri had filled that role the past three games. The young center earned rave reviews from coach Joel Quenneville against Montreal but wasnt as strong in the last two games.
So its another turn with Kane, who was centering the second line by the end of Wednesday nights game against the Los Angeles Kings.
I guess the last few times I went to center we had some balance. We had some pressure, some chances, Kane said. I guess they want to start it out that way and well see how it goes.
Kane has been struggling in the goal department lately, but hes pairing with two who havent. Stalberg had a four-game point streak before Wednesdays shutout, and Sharp had a nine-game point streak recently.
Its always good to play with some good combinations. Sharpies been playing great and so has Stalberg. So its good to play with two pretty confident guys right now.
Kruger will probably be back at that No. 2 spot when he returns. But when that is, is anyones guess. Kruger is sidelined once again with a concussion after taking a few big hits on Monday against Columbus. Quenneville said Kruger is feeling better, but he has yet to skate and hes out tomorrow against Detroit.
And Quenneville knows what he gets with Kane at center.
He seems to have the puck a little bit more and it seems we have more threats on both lines with him in the middle, Quenneville said. Thats part of it.
After struggling to find a new home this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, Kris Versteeg is expected to leave the National Hockey League and sign with SC Bern of National League A, better known as the Swiss League, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.
The former Blackhawks forward, who spent five seasons in Chicago from 2007-10 and 2013-15, scored 15 goals and 23 assists in 77 games last year with the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings.
It was his highest point total (38) in a season since 2011-12 when he tallied 54 with the Florida Panthers.
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There's no question Versteeg can contribute on the bottom-six for a contender in the NHL, but at 30 years of age and already with two Stanley Cups under his belt, perhaps he feels he can play a larger role elsewhere and will look to accomplish that overseas.
Bouncing around six different times (all via trades) certainly takes a toll, too.
In 550 career games, Versteeg has 131 goals and 182 assists across nine seasons in the NHL with the Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Panthers, Hurricanes and Kings.
He was drafted in the fifth round (No. 134 overall) of the 2004 draft by the Boston Bruins.
The Blackhawks organization doesn't only win on the ice.
The team announced Wednesday that their Marketing Department's #WhatsYourGoal campaign, specifically the #WhatsYourGoal: Jenny spot with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, was honored with the Golden Matrix Award for the Best Promotional Video at the 2016 Information Display Entertainment Association (IDEA) Conference for the second consecutive year.
Additionally, the Blackhawks Game Operations Department and United Center Scoreboard Operations Department were named the NHL's Best Overall Video Display and Production for the second year in a row. These same departments also received the Golden Matrix Award for Best Overall Video Display in the NHL at the 2008 and 2009 IDEA Conferences.
IDEA recognizes superior achievement throughout the large screen video and matrix display industry by awarding its Golden Matrix Awards (GMAs) at the annual IDEA Conference. The purpose of the GMAs is to recognize artistic and technical excellence in the programming of large screen video and matrix displays located at stadiums, arenas, racetracks, convention centers and other public assembly facilities.
Just last month, Blackhawks players Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin took home multiple awards at the NHL Awards ceremony for their impressive performances on the ice in 2016. Kane won the Hart Trophy for most valuable player, as well as the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's regular-season scoring leader and the Ted Lindsay Award as the league's most outstanding player. Panarin was named the Calder Trophy winner for top rookie in the NHL this past season.
The Blackhawks announced their 2016-17 regular-season national television schedule Thursday, and there will be plenty of opportunities (21, to be exact) for people across the country to catch a Chicago Blackhawks game on television this year.
The Blackhawks will be making a league-high 21 national television appearances starting with their season-opener on Wednesday, Oct. 12 when they host the St. Louis Blues at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.
Stay tuned for CSN to release the entire local television schedule, including the preseason broadcast schedule, at a later date.
Here is the full Blackhawks' national television schedule: