With one month in the books, the Blackhawks have looked pretty good. But not many players in the league have been as impressive as Patrick Kane.
There were some questions about Kane coming off late-summer wrist surgery; some blogs thought he wouldn’t be ready for the season start, and wouldn’t play well for a couple weeks once the games began.
When coach Joel Quenneville announced he was moving Kane to center, the position he played growing up, there were even more eyebrows moving. How could the organization ask one of their best players to switch positions after wrist surgery? Certainly he would struggle at the dot, and his defense would be a liability. Right?
To Kane’s credit, the assumptions that his wrist wasn’t going to work and the move to center would be a disaster have been proven to be totally unfounded.
In October, Kane was outstanding. He was a point-per-game player, posting four goals and seven assists in 11 contests. Many of his points game in highlight-reel plays, including the early leader for the league-wide play of the year when Kane turned a spin-o-rama into an incredible assist to Marian Hossa.
The chemistry between Kane and Hossa has been special early this season. Both had been playing right wing, which had led to issues on the ice in the past when Quenneville tried to move one of them to the left side. But with Kane in the middle, the two elite players have been able to get the most out of each other.
Hossa, like Kane, has been a point-per-game player in October. He has five goals and five assists in 10 games. The two have combined to be plus-11 in the season’s first month, and have 81 total shots already.
What is more surprising, and most impressive, about Kane’s play in October wasn’t his scoring, though. He is tied with Dave Bolland for second on the team with 12 takeaways (Jonathan Toews has 14), and Kane won 60 of his 120 faceoff opportunities. Led by Toews and Kane, the Blackhawks rank second in the NHL in team faceoff win percentage (53.9%).
Kane has been especially good at the United Center. In seven home games this year, Kane has four goals and six assists and two three-point games already. But leaving home shouldn’t indicate that Kane’s production will slip. Moving into November, there are reasons to believe that Kane will continue his exceptional play.
In the first four years of his career, Kane has loved the month of November. In 51 career games in November, Kane has 56 points (21 goals, 35 assists). Last year, Kane exploded for eight goals and eight assists in 14 games; he has posted 16 points in two of the four Novembers he’s played in as a member of the Blackhawks.