Yes, we’re talking about practice. Chicago Blackhawks practice. And there was a lot to learn on Monday.
The buzz early on was regarding Patrick Kane. He saw his doctor and received full clearance, and then practiced without a splint for the first time.
Kane also practiced at center, between Marian Hossa and Andrew Brunette. Jonathan Toews skated between Viktor Stalberg and prospect Brandon Saad again. Kane indicated that GM Stan Bowman approached Kane about playing center during the summer, and he told the organization needed him there.
Also good news from practice, Patrick Sharp skated on his own for the first time since his appendectomy.
But what’s interesting regarding Sharp is that Quenneville told the media he intends on using the forward as a wing this season.
In fact, the only line that appears to be settled right now is the checking line. Quenneville appears happy with Michael Frolik, Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell staying together on the third line, where they finished last year on a strong note.
With Quenneville looking to keep Sharp at wing, and keeping Bolland on the third line, the Hawks could be looking to fill the center position on the second line. Whether or not Kane gets a shot there to begin the season is intriguing at best at this point.
One name to consider is prospect Brandon Pirri. After a strong performance in Detroit, the 20-year-old center was kept in Chicago while a number of other forwards were sent back to Rockford on Monday morning.
Pirri was called up for the Hawks home opener last year when Sharp was sick, and had a strong second half for the IceHogs last year. He finished the 2010-11 campaign with 12 goals and 31 assists in 70 games with Rockford, his first professional season. He has out-played Marcus Kruger during the preseseason, and might be getting an extended look this week to win a spot in Chicago.