Patrick Kane

Versteeg misses Kane


It’s been a tough go for Blackhawks winger Kris Versteeg, ever since Patrick Kane fractured his clavicle and was lost for the remainder of the regular season.

Versteeg has played 14 games since that fateful night versus Florida. He has just two assists, despite skating with the likes of Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.

“Obviously, me and Kane had a good thing going on,” Versteeg said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “And since I haven’t played with him in a while, it hasn’t been going my way.”

The prevailing theory (supported by numbers) is that Versteeg is a more effective scorer with a creative, unpredictable play-maker like Kane, as opposed to the more straightforward styles of Toews and Hossa.

But with Kane out until at least the playoffs, Versteeg knows he has to adapt.

And really, there are worse linemates to be stuck with than Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, two of the best all-around forwards in the game.

“Whether it’s a role you have to dump it in, or a role you have to check, or a role you have to score,” said Versteeg. “I just want to help this team.”

A taste of revenge? Blackhawks deal blow to Kings’ playoff hopes


It remains to be seen if the Los Angeles Kings can claw their way into the 2015 postseason. It seems like the Chicago Blackhawks are getting their shots in now, just in case that doesn’t happen.

Chicago ran away with Monday’s game, handing Los Angeles a 4-1 beating.

That score is probably a fair depiction of what happened tonight, too, as the Blackhawks carried most of the play. This stats is outdated at this point, yet it also captures how much the Kings struggled to contain Chicago’s attack:

This was the point where the Blackhawks really pulled away, rapidly turning a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 lead:

Ultimately, tonight is an evening of good news for the Blackhawks (including positive vibes for Patrick Kane) and, from the look of things, a pretty lousy night for Los Angeles.

Let’s be honest, too. A bad night for the Kings is probably a good one for the rest of the West’s playoff field … and not just bubble opponents like the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames.

Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane


Patrick Kane might return from his broken clavicle far earlier than expected, but note that nothing is official.

(Yeah, chances are we just got Chicago Blackhawks hopes up anyway right there. Sorry about that.)

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville didn’t outright say that Kane is ahead of schedule, but it was hard not to read some serious optimism in his comments to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“There’s been some excellent progress,” Quenneville said. “It could be good news. We’ll see.”

The original outlook had the 26-year-old’s absence pegged until about halfway through May, but perhaps it will be quite a bit shorter. He’s now five weeks into his rehab, spending quite a few days skating (including some time in full equipment).

Quenneville said it ultimately comes down to getting the doctor’s OK.

“You watch him today, he does everything you’d want him to do, or that he wants to do,” Quenneville said. “So I guess now we’ll just listen [for him to be] medically cleared. I would feel he’d be ready to go soon as he gets clearance. That’s what we’re waiting for.”

There are about two weeks remaining in the regular season, so there’s plenty of time for good news to come (or not). Naturally, the Blackhawks still have some work to do without Kane, including tonight’s NBCSN contest vs. the Los Angeles Kings.


For what it’s worth, Quenneville said he expected the timetable to remain the same just a few days ago.

Get your game notes: Kings at Blackhawks

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Los Angeles Kings at 8:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:


• Back at United Center: This is the 3rd and final meeting of the season (each has 1 regulation win), but the first game at United Center since June 1, 2014 – Game 7 of last year‟s Western Conf. Final, which LA won 5-4 (OT).

• LA’s playoff push: The Kings are ending a 5-game road trip today (3-1-0 record thus far).

• The Kings swept NJ, NYR, and NYI on the same road trip for the 3rd time in franchise history. They are just one of three teams all-time to accomplish that feat (NSH, ANA). However, LA‟s winning streak was snapped on Saturday in the loss to MIN.

• LA has once again fallen outside the playoff picture, however the Kings have a game in hand on both the Flames and the Jets. In addition, the Kings lead the tiebreaker (ROW) against Winnipeg. A win tonight would put the Kings back in the playoffs (Wild Card if CGY also wins, 3rd in Pacific if CGY loses).

• Tonight ends the Kings’ most challenging remaining stretch schedule-wise. Four of their final 6 games after tonight are against teams out of the playoff race (EDM twice, COL, SJ). The other two games are crucial Pacific Division matchups and could determine LA‟s fate this season – at Vancouver in a week and at Calgary in the Kings’ penultimate game of the regular season.

• Late-season surges have been LA‟s identity in each of the past 3 seasons, as they have not clinched a playoff spot until the very end of the season.

• The Kings can become the first repeat champ since DET won in 1997 & 1998…on the other end of the spectrum, they could become only the 4th team since the 1967-68 expansion to miss the playoffs the season after winning the Cup, joining CAR (2006-07), NJ (1995-96) & MTL (1969-70).

• Chicago battling for position: Though the Hawks have won just twice in their last 5 games (2-3-0 record), they are coming off a come-from-behind 4-3 win in Winnipeg yesterday. While still 3rd in the Central, Chicago is under pressure from Minnesota (26-6-2 since Jan. 15 – most wins in NHL), and must keep winning to avoid being a Wild Card team. The Hawks have a game in hand on the Wild and one more matchup this season.

• Without Patrick Kane: After last night’s win, Chicago has now gone 9-4-1 without its leading scorer. Kane underwent successful surgery on Feb. 25 to repair his left clavicle fracture and was expected to be out 12 weeks from that time. That timetable likely puts Kane out until at least the WC Final. While he has been on the ice since, there is no change in the prognosis. At the time of the injury, Kane was tied for the league lead in points with 64 in 61 games.

• For the better part of March, Chicago had been winning games with improved defense to make up for the dip in scoring caused by Kane’s absence. Though those trends over the 14 games without Kane still hold, recently the Hawks have seen different results.

• Before the 4-goal outburst yesterday, the Hawks had scored 7 goals in the 5 previous games. And CHI now has allowed 12 goals over its last 3 games – it had allowed just 13 in the 9 games before that.


• Jonathan Quick ranks 2nd in the NHL with 65 starts this season, which includes his current run of 14 straight. He was pulled after the first period against MIN – he stopped 7 of 9 shots. Despite the loss Saturday, Quick‟s play since Feb. 7 (the start of LA‟s season-high 8-game win streak) has sparked the Kings’ turnaroud

• This season vs. CHI: 1-1-0 record, 3.03 GAA, .887 SV%. This includes a 26-save performance in the most recent meeting (4-3 Kings win on Jan. 28).

• Regular season career vs. CHI: 7-13-1 record, 2.79 GAA, .908 SV%.

• Including playoffs, Tyler Toffoli has 15 points (8 goals) in 17 career games against the Blackhawks.

• Anze Kopitar has led the Kings in scoring each of the past 7 seasons, and his 60 points this season also leads the team. Kopitar had a 5-game point streak snapped in the loss to the Wild, but he still has 6 points in the 4 games on this road trip.


• Since Kane was injured, 3 Hawks have stepped up offensively – captain Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Andrew Shaw. All 3 players scored in yesterday’s win.

• Toews – a Winnipeg native – scored the game-winning goal with 31 seconds left in regulation yesterday.

• Sharp went 19 games without a goal from Jan. 30 to March 12 (2nd-longest drought of career), but he now has 4 goals (and 4 assists) in the 8 games since, including the game-tying goal on a 3rd-period breakaway yesterday.

• Shaw had gone 13 straight games without a point leading up to Kane’s exit from the lineup. He has 7 points (5 goals) in the 14 games without number 88, including 4 goals in the last 4 games.

• Goaltender Corey Crawford has made 5 straight starts, and though he picked up the win yesterday stopping 31 of 34 shots, he has allowed 3+ goals in 4 of those 5 games.

Blackhawks coach happy with Kane’s progress, hoping for early return

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The Chicago Blackhawks have been without Patrick Kane for more than a month, but the hope is for the skilled forward to possibly make an early return to the lineup.

On Feb. 24, Kane suffered a fractured clavicle after being shoved awkwardly from behind into the boards. The timetable for his return was 12 weeks following surgery. reported that Kane is skating on his own, but if he was unavailable for the 12 weeks, he’d be out until the middle of May and the Western Conference Final.

“I’ve always hoped that [he could return sooner],” said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, as per ESPN Chicago. “We’ll see.

“I think it’s still the same timetable, but how well he’s skating and how well he’s doing, I think he feels real good about where he’s at.

“It’s just a matter of when he gets that green light is probably going to be the hurdle. But we like his approach, and he’s doing a lot of things out there that he wants to do or is able to do. That’s a good sign.”

The Blackhawks are third in the Central Division with 94 points, but were only three points up on the Minnesota Wild prior to puck drop on Friday’s NHL schedule, which features the Wild hosting the Calgary Flames.

At the time of his injury, Kane had 27 goals and 64 points in 61 games.