With Marian Hossa out of the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup with an upper-body injury, Patrick Kane saw more ice time, getting double-shifted Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.
It was a battle between the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks, second in the conference but with only three regulation losses all season.
At the end, the Ducks were on the winning side of a 4-2 hockey game, thanks three-goal explosion in the final six minutes of the third period.
The best players needed to be the best players, and Kane didn’t feel he played his way into that category Wednesday.
“I was fine,” Kane told NHL.com, speaking about how he felt with the increase in ice time.
“It will be nice to get a little break here for me and hopefully we can get some injuries resolved and come back with a better game next game. But I could have done better tonight and obviously I wasn’t good enough, and [that’s] the reason we lost the game.”
A look at the standings shows the top two teams in the Western Conference are even closer after tonight.
The Blackhawks, thanks to that historical start to the season, are still tops in the West with a 24-3-3 record and 51 points.
The Ducks entered the game five points back of Chicago. They’ll wake up Thursday only three back, and with a record of 22-3-4, and a game in hand.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.