Patrick Kane Dominated October

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.

4 thoughts on “Patrick Kane Dominated October

  1. Nice article.

    Though, I still contend that Kane shouldn’t play center. My premise is simple – play players at their position of strenght. Kane is a more gifted winger than he is a centerman. And while I can’t deny the chemistry he has with Hossa have we already forgotten the tandem of Toews and Kane? It’s as though people forget that those two are noticably more dominant – and consistently so during games. And that would be my first complaint about Kane at center; the line is inconsistent. Too many times do they enter the zone and produce a ‘one and done’ opportunity or turn the puck over trying to be too cute. Whenever the line is being held in check by the opponent Kane seems to lose interest or try to do too much resulting in less. Next, Kane hasn’t really faced true competition yet. San Jose’s center depth, Detroit’s, Vancouver’s, L.A.’s haven’t come knocking. But they will, and they’ll be prepared. Lastly, October was a month largely played on home ice – where Q gets to dictate matchups. Novermber won’t be so curtious to the Hawks – and expect Kane’s play to reflect it.

    Sure this is working right now – the team is winning. But this cannot be what the organization has in mind for a playoff run. When the games get to that level I personally can’t picture this line being any good whatsoever. It’s all well and good to call this move genius right now – nothing cures like winning. But, I imagine after a couple of losses more people will be on board with the idea of moving Kane back to the wing. But until then, I’ll remain consistent – Kane is not a centerman.

  2. @ Ivan

    I completely disagree with your comment.

    You say:

    “Though, I still contend that Kane shouldn’t play center.” (Ivan)

    Kane is a natural center His puck handling and playmaking ability is BETTER than his scoring ability. He is a natural born playmaker, and he is proving that he can win faceoffs at a good enough rate.

    This is the answer to our prayers, and you can’t even see it. The skills of Kane and Hossa compliment each other. Our second line can be one of the best scoring lines in the NHL with that tandem. If they continue to play the way they have, than that frees up Sharpie to play on the first line with Teows….

    “My premise is simple – play players at their position of strenght” (Ivan)

    Sharps “position is of strength” is Wing, everybody knows that, and Sharp really likes playing their better, so this actually backs up your point.

    “Kane hasn’t really faced true competition yet.” (Ivan)

    Moving Kane to center was a ballsy move, and it’s coming up roses. People doubted that Kaner could come back so quick after surgery, they doubted he could win faceoffs, or play good enough defense to play center.

    He has proved the critics wrong. He has been dominant. Not only that, he has made those around him better, which is the true measure of a dominant centerman.

    “San Jose’s center depth, Detroit’s, Vancouver’s, L.A.’s haven’t come knocking. But they will, and they’ll be prepared.” (Ivan)

    They know they are coming, and the Hawks will be prepared. You might not see it, but I am watching a team come together day by day. To win a cup, alot of things have to go right, but when I see a guy like Carcillo come in here and fit right in (when people questioned the move), when you see newer guys like Leddy and Bickell stepping into important roles, when you see a guy like Viktor Stalberg with incredible talent and speed finally starting to show that promise, … just reminds me that just two short years ago nobody though that Chicago was going to bring home the Cup either..but they did.

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  3. Ivan and Zmorg… you both make points… Kane has not been “tested” yet against the better teams… and another concern is Kane is more likely at center to take a blind over center ice “cheap shot”( it is only a matter of time).

    But, it is obvious to me that Stalberg is better on the Right Wing. The team is better off with Kane at center because they are loaded at right wing (great problem). IMO the only one who suffers from this is Toews *(great chemistry w/Kane), and has to play with “Old Man Bruno”.

    Wouldn’t mine seeing Sharp-Toews-Stalberg or Carcillo-Toews-Stalberg, and leave Sharp-Kane-Hoss. Perhaps sometime soon, Smith-Toews-Stalberg.

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