The league’s highest scoring offense will be without their top scorer for the remainder of the season. Patrick Kane suffered a leg injury a few games back after Brendan Morrow landed on him in the Hawk’s win last Wednesday. While the severity of the injury is still up in the air, losing a player like Kane will almost certainly have catastrophic effect on the Hawks’ prospects for the rest of the regular season. They have 9 games to go until the playoffs start and are currently locked in a tight battle with the Avalanche for the right to host the opening round matchup. Chicago hasn’t fared well against Colorado this season and a road series to open the Stanley Cup Playoffs may prove problematic for their hopes to repeat as champions.
The injury to Kane seems like a precautionary matter. It’s tough to imagine that he’s really hurt in a major way, and this could be nothing more than a way to give him a rest before the playoffs. That’s my hope. The real question is: Why isn’t Quennville doing this with more of his players regardless of injury? Why can’t Quennville just make something disastrous for Jonathan Toews so he to can take a rest? The Blackhawks can all but kiss goodbye to home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs and confer the division to the Blues. Duncan Keith, Crawford, Sharp and Hossa could all use a rest before the playoffs, and for what it’s worth should be given the time off. The Blackhawks are a better team than the Avalanche and the Blues (record notwithstanding). The Hawks have time and again shown that they have the ability to turn it on when it matters most. Look at the game against the Ducks and the Bruins in the middle of the season.
The Hawks PP is obviously going to struggle without Kane, but if it helps him become the superstar he was in the playoffs last year then who cares? For the most part the teams that are known contenders for the Cup just want the season to end anyway. Nobody cares about their finish in the standings because in hockey it doesn’t matter. The LA Kings were the eight-seed in the Western Conference two years ago and tore up the postseason to win the title. If Chicago finishes with the sixth or seventh best record in the league then they’re in fine position. As long as they’re firing on all cylinders in three weeks then nobody will remember who won the Central Division or the President’s Trophy.