Patrick Kane

Without Toews, Patrick Kane is the leader the Blackhawks need


Often when a team’s captain goes out of the lineup, they’ll fall into a funk. Losing a leader can make that happen. In Chicago, Jonathan Toews’ concussion has him out of action but it’s opened the door for Patrick Kane to step up in a big way.

CSNChicago’s Tracey Myers finds out from forward Jamal Mayers that Kane’s game and his leadership are helping them persevere without their captain.

“I’ve been telling him for a couple weeks now that he’s surprised me in raising his game,” Mayers continued. “He’s skating the best he’s ever skated. And you add his vision and awareness on the ice and he has the opportunity to be the best player on the ice every night.”

It’s nice to have a wealth of riches like that and Kane stepping up as big as he has lately makes life a lot easier.

Kane heads into tonight’s game against the Capitals on a four-game points streak with two goals and four assists in that span. In the 12 games Toews has missed, Kane has put up nine points all while Chicago has gone 7-4-1 in that span. Not a bad run for a guy you wouldn’t expect to jump into a leadership role.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?