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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Q: Kane's maturity big part of success

By Scott Powers

Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks with 24 points.
Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he believes Patrick Kane's success this season has been partly due to his maturity on and off the ice.

"I think every year he's gotten more mature I think as any individual and as a player," Quenneville said Wednesday on "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "They've gone hand in hand. I think every kid wants to have fun, and I think there's nothing wrong as a young kid wanting to have fun. I've been there. We've all been there. It's all part of it.

"I think he's learned that there's some things you can and cannot do. But I think this year, he's got the right focus and right attitude. I think he's been a real big part of our success. I like the consistency of his approach as well."

The Blackhawks are riding a NHL-best 19-game points streak to start the season, and Kane has been a factor in nearly every game. He leads the Blackhawks with 24 points, which has included 10 goals and 14 assists, and has registered a point in 16 of 19 games.

The 24-year-old Kane's off-the-ice behavior has made news in previous years. Most recently, he was photographed last year while publicly partying in Madison, Wis.

Kane said in July that he was embarrassed by the photos and didn't like the image it created of him.

"It's in the past for me," Kane said in January. "I'm not worried about that. I'm a different person now, and I've changed a lot."

Quenneville said he and Kane have discussed his conduct previously, and the coach believes Kane has learned from his own mistakes and from others.

"There have been times where we've had discussions," Quenneville said. "I think as a young kid there are parts you learn on your own, you learn from your family, you learn from your teammates, you're learning from the organization, the coaches. I think that's all part of it.

"This is all Kaner's doing here. He should be commended for the approach and what he's done and the commitment that he's making and the improvement in his overall game and contribution."

Another reason Kane is off to his hot start could be from playing in Switzerland during the lockout. He scored 13 goals and had 10 assists in 20 games for EHC Biel in the National League A.

"I think it was nice he started playing a little bit over in Europe there," Quenneville said. "I think he might have prepared himself very well. I like his focus. He's had a great attitude since Day 1.

"Whether he's got something to prove, I just find with Kaner every year he's gotten better. He's improved his strength. He seems like he's faster than he's ever been. He's shooting the puck better than he ever has. He wants the puck. You got to like him game in, game out that he's preparing and focused. He wants to be the best."

EHC Biel coach Kevin Schläpfer told ESPNChicago.com in January he was impressed by Kane on and off the ice as well.

"I had heard a couple bad stories from back home," Schläpfer said. "That was totally not here. He was very professional. He was really focused on hockey. I'm really impressed with him. It was easy for him. He made the smart decision by bringing his mother with him."