By Paul M. Banks
Chicago Blackhawks top scorer Patrick Kane, along with teammate , was recently voted to start for the Western Conference in the NHL All-Star Game on the 25th. Together, the two young forwards serve as poster children for a revitalized franchise that leads the league in attendance and merchandise sales and team that is third in the league in scoring. â€œKanerâ€ recently answered questions about this banner season on conference call.
He mentioned fellow Hawks currently flying under the radar. â€œI would probably have to say Patrick Sharp. With the Blackhawks, you mention names, you always hear about Kane and Toews, Campbell. Duncan Keith goes unnoticed. He is probably one of the biggest underdogs on the team, Sharpy, too. They never seem to get enough recognition, them two. It’s a shame they were not on the All-Star ballot. Duncan made it last year and Sharpy had 36 goals last year and he has 20 already. He’s a great goal scorer and definitely an All-Star in this league. Definitely those two guys are underappreciated,â€ Kane said.
Although the Hawks have been winning a lot of games lately, they still struggle against their hated rivals, the Stanley Cup Champion, Detroit Red Wings. Kaner spoke about the Wingsâ€™ postseason run last year:
â€œGuys like Zetterberg, Datsyuk; they are so fun to watch. You have a guy like Franzen who is scoring all these goals. It was fun to see a team with so much skill win where in the past it’s been teams like the Ducks who were kind of real physical and had a couple big lines that dominated down low,â€ Kane said before describing how different his sophomore season in Chicago has been from his rookie year.
â€œI think last year coming in, you’re just so happy to be in the NHL. Started playing a couple games and you realize the building is empty and you want to do something to try to fill it up. It’s amazing how quickly it’s happened. You look at the team, it’s pretty much been a total 180 from where we were at the beginning of last year. It’s unbelievable. Obviously the credit goes to the players, the management, Dale Tallon, Denis Savard obviously, Joel Quenneville, John McDonough, Rocky Wirtz, guys like that that have really helped turn us around and itâ€™s just fun to be a Blackhawk right now.â€
Paul M. Banks is a contributor for NBCChicago.com and The Washington Times