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Kane and Toews: Together for the long haul in The Windy City

By Mike Harrington

Kane and Toews. Toews and Kane.

They've become as synonomous with Chicago hockey just like icons such as Wrigley Field and deep dish pizza are to The Windy City itself. There was no way the Blackhawks wanted to move forward without captain Jonathan Toews and South Buffalo sniper Patrick Kane, and their eight-year, $84 million extensions that were formally discussed Wednesday keep them together in the prime of their careers.

As Mark Lazerus reports in the Sun-Times, Kane and Toews stayed flexible with their deals so the Blackhawks could keep a team around them -- and not be forced to pick one of their stars and discard the other. If either or both had demanded an annual max deal of $13.8 million, the Hawks certainly would have had tough choices to make.

The final year of the players' current deals this year will have $6.3 million cap hits, which will jump to $10.5 million apiece when the extensions kick in for 2015-16. The deals pay each player $13.8 million for the first three years, $12 million in 2018-19, followed by salaries of $9.8 million, $7 million, $6.9 million and $6.9 million.

As Chris Kuc reports in the Chicago Tribune, Kane put to rest all that social media chatter about coming home to Buffalo when he said, "It was not even really a thought to think about continuing your career anywhere else. We’re both happy that we’re locked up here for a while."

The video file at the top of this post with highlights from Wednesday's press conference in the United Center is from CSN Chicago. If you want to see the full press conference (running about 37 minutes) from the Blackhawks'  web site, click the video file below:

Continue reading "Kane and Toews: Together for the long haul in The Windy City" »

Kane's sick game-winner: 'Showtime, Showtime'

By Mike Harrington

The Chicago Blackhawks won their series opener, 5-2, over the Minnesota Wild late Friday night  (thanks for that 9:45 ET start, NBC). And they did it after blowing a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes because Patrick Kane broke the tie with a ridiculous backhand winner.

"You're kidding me. He didn't just do this?" said NBC's Brian Engblom. 

Yes, he did. He even used a signature celebration that starts at 37 seconds in the video below: "Showtime, Showtime"

Here's what Kane said afterward about the goal (Chicago Sun-Times video):

And for good measure, Kane made it 4-2 with an easy tap-in after an absurdly good pass from Ben Smith.

Kane beats Miller twice, including in overtime, as Chicago evens series with Blues

By John Vogl

Patrick Kane obviously doesn't care if the Sabres get another first-round draft pick.

The Buffalo native scored twice Wednesday night, including the overtime winner, to give Chicago a 4-3 win over St. Louis. The Blackhawks have won two straight to even their first-round, best-of-seven playoff series at 2-2. The next game is Friday.

"We kind of have the momentum now," Kane said. "We know it's going to be a tough game in Game Five in their building. They're going to be fired up, and that's always a tough place to play, preseason, regular season or playoffs. So we'll expect them to get better, and we'll get better, too."

Ryan Miller finished with 30 saves for the Blues. As part of the trade to get Miller, St. Louis has to give Buffalo its 2014 first-round pick if it reaches the Western Conference final. Depending on other conditions, the pick could fall to a second- or third-round selection.

"All these games could have been won by one of these two teams, so we're just going to have to keep battling, keep playing good hockey," Miller said. "It's a seven-game series. We knew it was going to be tight. These guys have shown their resiliency in winning last year. We have to show we're resilient and bring the game to beat them."

Continue reading "Kane beats Miller twice, including in overtime, as Chicago evens series with Blues" »

Hawks hand Miller first defeat with Blues but lose Kane for 3 weeks with ankle injury

By Mike Harrington

The Chicago Blackhawks handed Ryan Miller his first loss with the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night with a 4-0 victory in the United Center but it came with a big price.

Leading scorer Patrick Kane is expected to miss about three weeks -- basically the rest of the regular season -- with an ankle injury after St. Louis' Brendan Morrow fell into him. Kane has been remarkably durable in his career, playing 503 out of 515 career games heading into Wednesday.

Incredibly, it was the Blues' first regulation loss of their year in their own division; if you're looking ahead to the playoffs, they're 20-1-2 against the Central but just 8-10-3 against the Pacific.

Miller fell to 7-1-1 since joining the Blues. St. Louis is 8-1-1 since the trade with the Sabres that produced Miller and Steve Ott. Had entered the gamed with a 1.61 GAA and .933  save percentage with St. Louis

Here's a look at Kane's injury:

Continue reading "Hawks hand Miller first defeat with Blues but lose Kane for 3 weeks with ankle injury" »

Hawks hope trip home can help Kane snap post-Olympic rut

KaneII
Patrick Kane works out this morning in First Niagara Center. (Charles Lewis/Buffalo News)



By Mike Harrington

Fans are asked to leave First Niagara Center when the Sabres' morning skate is completed, the norm in most NHL buildings. But with Patrick Kane in the fourth homecoming game of his career, a few hundred specators were allowed to stay to watch the pride of South Buffalo and the Chicago Blackhawks work out in advance of tonight's game.

"I've never seen that many people in a morning skate and I'm sure Kaner had a lot to do with that," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville.

"It's probably one of the first things I look for when the schedule comes out: When we're playing Buffalo and where the game is at," said Kane -- who has not been here with the Hawks since Oct. 11, 2010.

Chicago will now come once a year under the NHL's new scheduling format and that suits Kane quite nicely.

"It's something that will happen every year from here on out  ... and it's so exciting being back home, to see some family and friends last night and to play in front of them tonight," Kane said.

KaneIKane has 27 goals and 65 points in 63 games this year but the struggles that hit him during the Olympics have continued since he returned. In four post-Sochi games, he has just two assists and a minus-2 rating, and he knows that has to change soon.

"It's not like you can go into playoffs and flick a switch," Kane said. "It doesn't happen like that."

"You look at him and you measure his production and it's reflected by how he plays," Quenneville said. "When he has the puck more, he's more dangerous. Hopefully he has the puck a lot and does his thing. When he has it, play recognition and patience and making guys around him find the puck on his stick is what he's all about. I expect him to be excited about tonight."

Kane has three goals and three assists in seven career games against the Sabres, including two goals and an assist in Buffalo.

He spoke on a wide variety of topics today, including the trade of Ryan Miller, the Sabres' struggles this season and having a text exchange on Wednesday with new Sabre Cory Conacher about wearing No. 88. He said he's hopeful his hometown team is on the right path.

"It seems like it's been a tough year for them but at the same time it seems like they're a young team and they've got a lot of things in place for the future, whether it's the new rink going up downtown, having a lot of draft picks. It seems like they have the ownership in place to do things right. Hopefully it works out for them. I don't know what happened much with :Pat LaFontaine but it seems like they made a few good moves for the future at the trade deadline.

"As far as following them, it seems like everybody has been following them because they've probably been one of the most talked-about teams in the league lately with all the trades and with what's been going on."

Click below to hear audio of Kane's meeting with the media this afternoon.

Patrick Kane

Grieving Kane honors his grandfather, who died Monday

By John Vogl

Donald Kane was always there for his grandson Patrick. He was at the NHL draft, just months after heart surgery, when Chicago chose Patrick Kane first overall. Donald helped drop the first puck for Patrick's first game in Buffalo against the Sabres.

Sadly for the Kane family, Donald died Monday. Kane honored him during and after Monday's game with the Blackhawks, scoring twice in the 5-3 win over Los Angeles and telling everyone how great his grandfather was as a friend and role model.

“It was a tough day overall,” Kane said through tears. “He was one of my great friends growing up. It’s just a really sad, sad day. It was important to get the win, but anytime you someone taken away from you, who’s so close to you, who means so much, it’s tough to get ready for the game.

“He lived next door to me my whole childhood. We would do things like play cards and hang out by the pool throughout the summers. He came to all of my hockey games ... It was a tough day for sure.”

Continue reading "Grieving Kane honors his grandfather, who died Monday" »

Ice chips: Kane named Nov. First Star, Wings clipped by injuries again, Edmonton names arena

Kane
Patrick Kane is third in the NHL with 16 goals (Getty Images).



By Mike Harrington

Here's an afternoon update of news and notes from around the NHL:

---South Buffalo's Patrick Kane was named the NHL's First Star for November after collecting nine goals and 19 points as the Chicago Blackhawks moved into first place overall. They Hawks did it in part by going 6-1 on their annual extended road trip when the circus moves into United Center.  Kane is third in the league with 16 goals and is tied for fifth with 30 points in 28 games this season. The second star was Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and the third star was Minnesota goalie Josh Harding.

---Pavel Datsyuk missed the Red Wings' Nov. 24 win here over the Sabres with an apparent concussion suffered the night before in Ottawa. Now captain Henrik Zetterberg is out of the lineup for at least two weeks with a herniated disc in his back, the team announced today.  He leads the team with 30 points in 19 games. (An aside on Datsyuk: I said the hit by Ottawa's Jared Cowen was worthy of a Shanaban. Now he's been out two weeks and there was no suspension? Terrible).

---The Edmonton Oilers have announced their new arena opening in 2016 will be named Rogers Place. It replaces Rexall Place, the former Northlands Coliseum during the Wayne Gretzky glory days. The building has seen better days and is now well behind its counterparts.

Rogers is just everywhere in Canada, especially with the new TV deal. As friend of the blog and NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen points out, we already have Rogers Arena (in Vancouver), the NHL has its new multi-billion TV deal with Rogers, Rogers owns 37.5 percent of the Toronto Maple Leafs and, of course, the Blue Jays play in Rogers Centre.

Ridiculous Hands Dept: Patrick Kane's new stickhandling video

By Mike Harrington

When we last saw Patrick Kane, it was nearly three weeks ago and he was parading the Stanley Cup around to Niagara Falls, South Buffalo and West Seneca (props to Imperial Pizza, by the way).

He's back on the ice now and in this case, I realize it's a commercial for his stickbrand. I get that. But we can still marvel at the abilities here shown by No. 88 in this video that's going all over the place today. Pretty amazing stuff.

Kane, Stanley quite a duo across Western New York

HumveeBy Mike Harrington

Yes, it's not the Sabres but there were plenty of people in Niagara Falls, South Buffalo and West Seneca on Saturday who hope that someday it might be. That said, they were plenty happy to see South Buffalo's Patrick Kane bring the Stanley Cup home to Western New York for the second time in four years.

Each player on the Cup-winning team gets the trophy for 24 hours and Saturday was Kane's day in honor of the Chicago Blackhawks' championship secured with their dramatic Game Six comeback in June over the Boston Bruins. Kane also came with the Conn Smythe Trophy for his MVP performance in the playoffs. 

Kane's day started with some family pictures with the Cup and Conn Smythe along Lake Erie before he headed to the Niagara Falls Air Base to greet service personnel, as well as members of the Buffalo Sled Veteran Warriors and Buffalo Warriors hockey teams (below right). Kane brought the Cup into Hangar 907 on a large military humvee (above left) and was greeted by Congressman Brian Higgins as well as military personnel.

Warriors"For you guys to give up your personal lives and sacrifice for what you do for our country is unbelievable," Kane told the crowd. "I can carry around a Stanley Cup that's 35 pounds or an MVP trophy that's brought along with us here today but you guys carry our country on your back. It's really amazing."

Then it was on to one of Kane's favorite pizza stops, Imperial Pizza on Abbott Road in South Buffalo. Several hundred fans, many in Blackhawks jerseys, were on hand to greet Kane as was Mayor Byron Brown. The crowd was even bigger at the West Seneca Town Rink on Union Road, where a couple thousand greeted Kane as he rode the Cup to the front door on a zamboni and then took it inside to a huge ovation from several hundred jersey-clad youth hockey players. 

The microphone at the West Seneca ceremony was dead but it was still clear Kane was being presented a proclamation of "Patrick Kane Week" in the town and a No. 88 jersey of the West Seneca Wings, his youth hockey team for five years.

"It was a thrill of a lifetime, riding in and being on the back of the Zamboni carrying the Stanley Cup, with all the little kids and people wearing the jersey that  you once wore screaming your name," Kane said. "So it was definitely a fun moment."

There were plenty of them for the Blackhawks star Saturday. Stay tuned to Buffalonews.com for move photos and a video wrapping up the day with photographer Mark Mulville and Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan. For an early look at some photos and Vine videos of the festivities at all three sites, you can review my Twitter account here. 

For a look at what all the Blackhawks have done with the Cup this summer, check out NHL.com's Summer With Stanley Blog.

Zamboni
Kane exits the zamboni with the Stanley Cup in West Seneca.


 

Go to the video: Ridiculous passes from Vanek and Kane

By Mike Harrington

Who doesn't love a great pass? We had two absolutely sick ones Thursday night: Thomas Vanek to Jason Pominville and Patrick Kane to Marian Hossa for an overtime winner. Check 'em out:

 

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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