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CHICAGO -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said he fully expects to be 100 percent for the playoffs after practicing Wednesday with the team for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury last month.
Kane was injured when a player landed on his left leg during a March 19 game. He was placed on long-term injured reserve two days later.
Kane has missed the Blackhawks' past 10 games, including their 3-2 OT win versus Montreal on Wednesday, and will miss their remaining two prior to the playoffs. The team, though, has planned since the injury for him to return for the start of the playoffs.
|Patrick Kane thinks the break he's taken due to injury could be beneficial once the playoffs begin next week.|
"I think I will be [100 percent] for sure," said Kane, who had been skating by himself since Friday. "It looks like we're a week away from playoffs. That's right about the timetable they told me I should be healed.
"The injury feels pretty good, and I feel pretty confident that especially being on the ice my fifth time in the past six days. It's an injury that they said would probably keep me out the rest of the regular season when it happened, so it looks like it's staying true to that."
Kane wore a brace on his left knee during the team's morning skate at the United Center on Wednesday. He didn't expect it to affect his play.
"I think we all try to wear some type of equipment when we go through injuries to kind of protect it and make sure you're not reinjuring something like that," Kane said. "Technology is pretty good these days, so it feels good. You got to get adjusted to it every day obviously. A few little tweaks here and there, and should be fine."
Kane, who is second on the team with 69 points, thought it wasn't ideal to sit out before the playoffs, but there could be an upside to being rested.
"Yeah, it always would have been nice to play a game before playoffs, just didn't work that way with the length of the injury and how long they wanted me to rest it and be off of it," Kane said. "Nothing you could do about that.
"I'm going to try to get myself feeling well, get the rest I needed to be ready for the playoffs. You never want to be out of the lineup. I think we all love to play the game. We love to play hockey. Love to be out there with your teammates and supporting any way you can. At the same time, some people think it might be beneficial in the long run to take a little break, especially with the year we had last year and going deep in the playoffs and the Olympics and a lot of different things we've been doing around here the past year and a half or so. It's something you never want to happen, but try to think of it in a positive way, I guess."
The Blackhawks have been without Kane and captain Jonathan Toews for the past four games. Neither will return before the playoffs.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Toews could begin skating Thursday. He hasn't played since suffering an upper-body injury March 30.
Quenneville was confident both players would be ready to play once the playoffs start next week.
"I think everybody's at a different timeline as far as getting themselves ready to play," Quenneville said. "And I know that getting them ready by giving them some rest by practicing themselves and with the team here the last couple days going into the playoffs, I think those guys, they'll be ready. They'll be fresh.
"They'll be excited to play and I think that could overcome a lot of the, you know, whether it's rust or whatever or not having to play, but those guys have played in a lot of big games in big settings, and I'm sure they're excited about playing for keeps in the playoffs."
The Blackhawks are 4-0-0 without Toews and Kane the past four games. They're in third place in the Central Division with a 46-19-15 record and 107 points.
As expected, defenseman Johnny Oduya played Wednesday after missing the previous three games with a lower-body injury.