Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane feeling optimistic about returning from surgery on time

Patrick Kane’s surgically repaired left wrist might be the one compelling thing left for Blackhawks fans this summer. After getting his wrist operated on earlier this summer, time is ticking away until he’s due to be back in action and ready to go. With training camp starting up soon, all eyes are on Kane to see when he’ll be joining the rest of the team back on the ice for full activities.

Right now, Kane is busy doing a lot of the little things, but he tells CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers that he’s not fully ready to start doing everything a highly skilled scorer can do when handling the stick and the puck. He’s still got a splint on his hand but that will go away soon… Just not yet.

“Right now when I’m on the ice, I’m taking backhands here or there, but I’m not pushing it too much,” he said. “I haven’t tried (shooting). They told me not to shoot pucks, just stick handling. I’m sure once this is off I can shoot.”

Kane said he’s currently taking the splint off five times a day to exercise the wrist. It’s getting limber again as he keeps trying to get the range of motion back. If he can play four preseason games like he did last September, great. That’s his goal.

“It’s three weeks (from the start of camp) until home opener. That should be enough time to get back into shape with the left arm and shooting pucks,” he said. “I definitely want to use training camp to my advantage.”

Three weeks time for a guy that’s a well-oiled machine of a player should be enough time for him to be ready to go at 100% for the season opener. Getting some action in during preseason will help that all along, but only that real game action will show just how ready his wrist is. Shooting pucks and stickhandling in practice will only show off so much and going up against opposing defenders will show how much rust, if any, he’s got in his game.

With how the Blackhawks are built for this year, Kane’s offensive production will be necessary all year long. While the team is a lot tougher now, losing any big scorer like Kane for an extended amount of time will force Chicago to tighten their game up more to keep opponents off the board and help keep goalie Corey Crawford sane. Kane taking care of his business should allow Chicago to not have to worry about that just yet.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.