Kane feeling comfortable at left wing
April, 10, 2012
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com
Rob Grabowski/US PresswirePatrick Kane said he felt better at left wing on Tuesday as Jonathan Toews returns from injury.CHICAGO -- It was status quo at Chicago Blackhawks practice on Tuesday as all hands -- minus the reportedly concussed Steve Montador -- were on the ice.
All lines and defensive pairings were the same as during Monday's drills which means Patrick Kane is one day closer to lining up at left wing for the opening playoff game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.
"I felt a lot better today [Tuesday]," Kane said. "I think sometimes you think too much about positions. If I just play my regular game -- obviously I'll be on the left more than not -- that's fine. But I can still cut to the middle or cut to the right side so sometimes you think too much about that. It's just about playing the game."
Marian Hossa continues to think Kane can do it.
"He's so quick, he can go from the left side to the right side and it won't be a big deal," Hossa said on Monday. "We'll see."
Just as important as the line combinations are the power play personnel. Joel Quenneville made a case for his two units.
"We have some high end talent on one unit," he said. "The thing we want to still do is shoot the puck. The other unit is going to have some traffic at the net and down low they'll be some plays."
So it's skill -- Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Kane, Hossa and Brent Seabrook -- versus a more gritty unit which consists of Andrew Brunette, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, Duncan Keith and Johnny Oduya.
It leaves Dave Bolland and Viktor Stalberg on the outside looking in.
"We'll see," Quenneville said of their chances on the power play.
In other words there is no room for either player on the skill unit or the gritty one. Chances are the way the Hawks start the series won't be the way they finish it, either with their line combinations or their power play units.
The Hawks left for Phoenix on Tuesday, a day early, to adjust to the time zone difference. They'll practice at Jobing.com arena Wednesday afternoon after the Coyotes take the ice.
On Thursday, both teams will have a morning practice in advance of Game 1 then another back-to-back practice day on Friday before repeating their game day schedules on Saturday for Game 2.
The Hawks will fly home Sunday in advance of Game 3 on Tuesday. The Coyotes plan on arriving in Chicago late on Monday.