There was some level of hope when Patrick Kane surfaced on Chicago’s practice ice Wednesday morning. The broken clavicle was healing quicker than expected, and Kane could maybe return sooner than originally hoped. He skated with the Blackhawks in a non-contact jersey. He shot the puck. He passed the puck to teammates.
This was the first known time he had practice with the rest of the team since his issue. It was going to happen! He's coming back!
But unfortunately for the Blackhawks and Kane, his 12-week timetable for a return from his Feb. 24 injury hasn’t been moved up. Which again, could make him the greatest end of playoff ‘acquisition’ in the history of the NHL.
"I thought it was a pretty good step (Wednesday) skating with the team," Kane said. "I’m happy about that. I’m not really sure what the next step is. I’m sure it would be contact and maybe finish some of the drills the guys were doing. We’ll kind of see how I feel there. The most important thing for me is especially when I’m skating with the team and when I get a chance to step into the drills is get my timing back as best as I can and make sure that when they do clear me to play ... that I’m as ready as possible."
Kane apparently said he could not take one-timers or slap shots, which obviously are an important part of a goal scorers’ arsenal.
"You never know what’s going to happen," Kane added. "But they make those timetables because it’s a certain type of injury. I guess you have to wait a little while for it to heal and for the bone to become itself again. I think it’s frustrating, but it is what it is. Like I’ve been saying all along to everyone I’ve been talking to, it’s something you’ve got to stay patient with and make sure you’re not really rushing an injury like this because it doesn’t make any sense to do that. You just put yourself back at Square One."
According to the Chicago Sun-Times this is apparently similar to what happened with Minnesota's Jason Zucker who had the same injury Feb. 9 and was shooting pucks two weeks later. But a May 7 recovery date remains the same for him.
So much for belief that Kane could come back way before the timetable. The initial estimate was May 20, which again means seven more weeks without Kane for the Blackhawks.
Still, he apparently looked good, per his teammates. Said Andrew Shaw to CSN Chicago:
“I mean, he makes it look so easy being off that amount of time and coming out there and doing the same thing he always does,” Andrew Shaw said. “He looks like he didn’t miss a step. That’s why he’s the player he is. He can step it up and we’re excited to have him in the dressing room and on the ice with us.”
But what are they going to say instead? That he looked awful? No matter, it’s a good sign for the Hawks that he’s at least skating. But again, they need to actually get to May for it to matter.
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