by Scott King and Chris Boden
Patrick Kane spoke with a few reporters at Saturday night’s Chicago Hockey Classic, a charity game at MB Ice Arena benefiting Special Olympics Chicago. Kane captained one team opposite former teammate Vinny Hinostroza.
Here’s part of that Q & A, less than three weeks before the Blackhawks begin training camp:
Q: What will you be working on with your game these last couple of weeks?
A: “Just a little bit of everything. I’m just trying to dial everything up to the point where it just feels comfortable out there and you don’t have to think too much. Just trying to work on little things where they become second nature and when you’re out there reading off defenders you can use certain moves you’ve been working on over the summer. A lot of that stuff and just training, working on your body. I feel really good and I’m excited for the season.”
(Note: Kane, along with a handful of the NHL’s other top stars, will attend renowned Performance Coach Darryl Belfry’s hockey camp in Tampa next week as a tuneup for the season. He’ll be joined by fellow Hawks Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz and was asked about that trio potentially developing as a line in Chicago)
A: “I dunno. I really enjoyed playing with Brinks at the Worlds and enjoyed playing with Schmaltzy throughout the year last season. I think it could be a good line if that was the case, but I guess we’ll see what happens in camp.”
Q: At what point did the length of this off-season start to drive you crazy?
A: “I was fortunate to go to the Worlds, which kind of takes a month away from your summer, which was good for me. I kind of traveled a bit and then, you’re always just working on your game. The length of the past couple off-seasons isn’t very fun but at the same time you’re using it to get your body ready for the season or work on your game. You’ve gotta take advantage of it.”
Q: Not being sure how much communicating you do (in the off-season) with guys you’ve won two or three Cups with – I know you saw them at the Convention. But how much do you get a sense of the chip on their shoulders and the hunger factor (after last season)?
A: “Absolutely. If you’re talking about guys like Duncs and Seabs and Tazer, you’ve gotta give those guys credit. It seems they’ve worked really hard this summer. I think we all have that feeling within us where it’s kind of like, okay, we’ve done some good things but it’s like you’re re-starting now and you have to prove yourself again. I don’t think that’s anything more than taking things a day at a time, getting through training camp, and do what you have to on the ice. It’s a long season. I think maybe we got ahead of ourselves a little bit last year where, we got swept in the playoffs the year before after a great regular season and we were just more looking forward to getting back to the playoffs and redeeming ourselves instead of taking care of business.”
Q: Were you concerned, or what was your reaction when Corey (Crawford) came out and said he wasn’t 100 percent yet (at the Convention)?
A: “Obviously we feel for him. He’s a great goaltender and I think more than anything he’s a great friend to a lot of us. So you hope he’s ready for camp and hope he’s ready to play at a high level, but more important, you’re just hoping for his health. So wherever he’s at, he’s at, and we’ll just take that as a day-by-day thing.”
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