Hawks on road trip, continuing success
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Patrick Kane getting off to a good regular-season start isn’t shocking.
The Blackhawks right wing has usually gotten out of the gate fast, tallying some points in those early games. But his start to the abbreviated 2012-13 season is beyond good. It’s crazy good. And be it his focus, the lockout work in Switzerland or a byproduct of a strong, successful Blackhawks team, Kane has been tremendous.
“He’s playing extremely well,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s his demeanor, his approach; there’s consistency in his game. And that line had some real nice plays. He’s a threat and he wants the puck and wants to score. He’s doing everything we want him to do and we’re pleased with his contribution.”
Kane is leading the Blackhawks in goals (eight), assists (10) and points (18) through these first 11 games this season. He’s coming off a three-point night in Phoenix where he tallied two goals, both on 5-on-3 power plays. It’s his best 11-game start in his career in goals and points, and his 10 assists equals what he did the first 11 games of his rookie season (four goals, 10 assists).
So the good starts have always been there. But why has this one been so much better?
“Maybe in the past, when I had a good game or two, I was doing real well and maybe I let up the next game,” Kane said following Saturday’s practice. “I just focus on every game, every shift and try not to be satisfied, no matter what happens. If I play well and help score goals, we’re going to have a chance to win.”
His time in Switzerland didn’t hurt, either. Kane didn’t waste time heading overseas to play hockey, and he tallied 13 goals and 10 assists in 20 games with EHC Biel.
“It was huge for me, just to keep playing and just worrying about hockey and my health and what kind of shape I was in for me to get a hot start here,” Kane said. “I knew it would help a little; it was kind of a mini season before the season. I’m really happy I did it. Things went well over there to translate to my success over here.”
Indeed they did. In the past, Kane would also set personal number goals for a season, goals, points, whatever. He didn’t do that when he first returned from Switzerland in January, and he still doesn’t plan to set a numbers mark.
“You never know what can happen in a game or any given shift. Last game I had three points in the first period and then nothing the rest of the game, so it’s tough to say what can happen,” he said. “No matter what happens, you just keep going and worry about the next shift that’s coming up.”
Kane’s focus has been stellar. As a result, so have his numbers. He credits his teammates and especially is linemates Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland. He’s just been there, he says, to finish. Nevertheless, his finishes have led to a great start.
“It helps when you’re playing with good players, too. You look at a lot of my goals, they’ve been right around the net. Guys are giving me the puck in good areas and I’m just one timing them into the net,” he said. “It’s been a fun start. Hopefully I keep getting those passes and scoring those goals.”
Patrick Kane has typically put up some good numbers at the start of regular seasons, but he’s gone above and beyond this season. Here’s his numbers through the first 11 games of this season, as well as the first 11 of previous seasons:
2012-13: 8 goals, 10 assists (18 points)
2011-12: 4 goals, 7 assists (11 points)
2010-11: 3 goals, 6 assists (9 points)
2009-10: 4 goals, 6 assists (10 points)
2008-09: 6 goals, 7 assists (13 points)
2007-08: 4 goals, 10 assists (14 points)