Blackhawks Bits: Early Season Edition

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By Paul M. Banks

It’s been an exciting first couple of weeks for Patrick Kane and his Chicago Blackhawks’ teammates. Chicago has a Western Conference leading 11 points and a 5-1-1 record. Kane has been a huge factor in that success, as he leads the team in shots on goal with 26, is tied with Patrick Sharp for the team lead in assists (4), and is second to Sharp in points with 7. There’s been quite a few Kane/Hawks stories flying around the world wide web during the first half of October, here’s some of the best.


-Bear Market Business

The Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bears announced Wednesday a historic partnership between the two franchises, marking the first of its kind between an Original Six National Hockey League team and a founding franchise of the National Football League.

The cross-branding promotional initiative includes commercials, representation inside the United Center and Soldier Field during home games for each team and a wealth of other activities. The five sets of commercials that will be released this fall feature one Blackhawks player and one Bears player, emphasizing the mutual support between each organization and the city of Chicago. Patrick Kane will join his Blackhawks teammates Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell. Who will team up  with Bears Jay Cutler, Devin Hester, Robbie Gould, Lance Briggs and Greg Olsen in these spots. In his promo, Kane crouched over a football with his hockey stick and wristed the ball 20 yards downfield into the arms of receiver Devin Hester.

“Partnering with the Blackhawks is a unique relationship that showcases two storied Chicago franchises,” said Senior Director of Sales and Marketing Chris Hibbs.  “The collaboration of the two teams and our star athletes is something we hope the passionate Chicago sports community can rally around.”dsc02123

-Patrick Kane Quote of the Week

The business deal was probably foreshadowed by this quote published a few days before on ESPNChicago.com

“Obviously the Bears are the Bears. They’re always going to be adored in this city, and we have to deal with that.”

It was featured in a piece about the Hawks starting their home slate October 10th in ton that year-in, year-out has a dysfunctional obsession with the Bears, and this year also has a collective and increasingly pathological man-crush on QB Jay Cutler.

-The Comeback Kid

On Monday night, the Hawks matched the biggest comeback in NHL history, rallying from a five-goal deficit to beat the Calgary Flames 6-5. Chicago fell behind 5-0 in the first period before overtaking the Flames, the team they eliminated in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last April. The rally was the biggest in franchise history and Kane was the best player on the ice that night, taking over the game in the second period and finishing with a goal and two assists.
More detail on Kane’s role courtesy of Annenberg’s Digital News Sports Blog

After Kane’s beautiful wrist shot for goal and an intelligent across ice pass to set up left wing Dustin Byfuglien’s third tally of the season, the Hawks found themselves down by only two goals. And Kane’s heroics weren’t done yet. Late in the second period, as the Flames continued to play conservatively, Kane took advantage of Calgary’s poor defensive alignment and found winger Dave Bolland, who beat Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to cut the lead to one. As home team dressed in red left the ice in the second period they were greeted with a very different sound from the Chicago faithful, loud cheers.

-Kilpatrick

An extremely rare on-ice occurrence, Patrick Kane saw a minute of time on the penalty kill in the Hawks win over the Florida Panthers earlier this month. He even contributed a blocked shot during his time with the special teams unit. But he’s not there for defense, his role, according to coaches is to give the team a short-handed offensive push.

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks React to Burish Injury

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It was the biggest, and most unfortunate, news to hit the Chicago Blackhawks in weeks.

“Adam Burish went into the boards on Sunday night in Minnesota and injured his right knee. When a player like him leaves the ice it is always concerning and unfortunately he suffered an ACL tear. He will undergo a reconstruction as soon as possible and we anticipate a complete recovery. His return will take approximately six months,” reads a statement from Chicago Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry.

“I went into the boards goofy. It was one of those goofy plays, I was helpless,” said Burish to a very large crowd of reporters after the team’s practice on Tuesday. Fellow forward Patrick Kane, certainly no stranger to recent heightened publicity, spoke about his fallen teammate:burishwisco1

“Obviously, I know if I was looking forward to the year and something like that happened to me, I’d be devastated, so I’m sure he feels the same way. I talked to him a little bit, it’s tough for him. I’m sure he’s pissed off, and it’s just a bad break, hopefully he can get back as soon as he can.”

Kane himself is having a pleasantly quiet and uneventful pre-season thus far. He sat out the Sunday night preseason game in which Burish was injured, and in the preseason opener last Saturday, he recorded 21 minutes on ice and three unsuccessful shots on goal. That game, a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, was noteworthy because it established a preseason franchise attendance record, drawing a capacity crowd of 19,734.

Last season’s deep playoff run, coupled with the star power of young goal-scorers such as Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp etc. helped the Blackhawks lead the National Hockey League in average attendance (22,247) per game. In order to duplicate that success at the box office this season, it would help to have their army of high-scoring forwards at full strength.

Last season, the 26 year old Burish registered career highs in both goals and points, and today he expressed optimism in his teammates’ ability to pick up the slack while he’s away. “They’ll be fine. That’s the least of my worries. It’s such a good and deep team. For training camp, I’m sure if you ask the coaches, they don’t even know who to put in the lineup, there’s so many guys, that won’t be an issue on this team.” Burish is the team’s best enforcer, and according to Chicago Magazine, the city’s 26th most eligible bachelor. Click here to read what he said about hockey groupies at the Fan Convention in July.

And it’s Burish’s sense of humor that keeps the mood light and positive in the locker room. “He’s very good for the locker room, he’s the disc jockey for one, and he does keep the boys loose. He likes to joke around. Myself personally I really enjoy that, so he’s going to be missed around the locker room more than anything,”
Kane said in describing what Burish’s effect on team chemistry. Kaner also articulated what the team will miss from Burish on-the-ice. “He sacrifices his body for everyone on the team and you can see that when he’s blocking shots, penalty killing, taking hits to make plays, that’s just the way he plays and when you play like that, you’re bound to get hurt sometimes. He’s a great player for us, a key part of the organization and the team, and the fans love him too.”