Patrick Kane continues to impress at center

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
11:51
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t hesitate when asked whose idea it was to move Patrick Kane to center.

“I’ll give Stan [Bowman] the credit,” he laughed.

And if it doesn’t work out, Quenneville said he’d take the blame, but so far the reviews have been nothing but good, especially after Kane’s three-point night in Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

[+] EnlargePatrick Kane
Rob Grabowski/US PresswirePatrick Kane had a goal and two assists on Thursday, thanks in part to new linemate Daniel Carcillo.
“From the outset [Kane] just seems like when he’s on the ice, whether center or wing, when he has the puck things materialize,” Quenneville said. “He’s getting better down low. He’ll get better and better because he’s a smart player.”

Kane changed the momentum of the game after the Hawks got down 2-0 early. He made an end-to-end rush, something becoming more commonplace with him at center, was tripped speeding into the offensive zone and the Hawks scored on the ensuing power play.

Momentum changed.

“We got off to a slow start, but it was nice, obviously, scoring on the power play, and then we got another one,” Kane said.

That other one came from some instant chemistry between Kane, Marian Hossa and Daniel Carcillo. The latter two assisted on a beauty of a one-timer by the former.

“Those guys are so skilled and they love working the perimeter and my game is getting to the net and getting to those dirty areas,” Carcillo said. “You look at the goal, it was just a chip up the boards. It’s my job.”

It’s been Kane’s job to prove people wrong about his move to center. He has five points in his first three games at his new position and he hasn’t been hurt defensively. He has a plus-2 rating. Oh, and he won 71 percent of his faceoffs Thursday, going 10-for-14.

“Everybody was asking, ‘How are we going to do defensively?’ but I think so far [Kane’s] answering the question,” Hossa said. “He’s doing a great job and we try to help him out.”

Kane is warming to his new position and new linemates. There was plenty of chemistry when he played with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp but now he’s finding more room to work, thanks to a new enforcer. Carcillo registered four hits before the game was 15 minutes old.

“He comes on the ice and the other team is worried about him a little bit where they aren’t worried about myself or Hossa as much,” Kane said. “It opens up some space.”

Space is all that Kane needs. And not a lot of it. As skilled as Hossa is even he recognizes what Kane can do.

“It doesn’t matter whether he plays center or wing, he can do anything with the puck,” he said.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
6 2 4 -1
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 3
AssistsB. Saad 5
+/-J. Oduya 3
GAAA. Raanta 1.52