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« Derrick Rose Injured: What That Means for Him & the Bulls New Blackhawks Looking to Help Team as Playoffs Approach »

Blackhawks Thu Feb 26 2015

Kane Injury Creates Opportunity for Some, Headache for Bowman

Chicago BlackhawksAs if the Blackhawks already weren't looking for answers on its power play, scoring woes, defensive positioning, goaltending questions -- you name it -- now Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman have to deal with the reality of Patrick Kane sidelined for the next 12 weeks with a fractured left clavicle.

With just over 12 minutes left in the first period, Alex Petrovic checked Kane into the boards while going for a loose puck in the Hawks' offensive zone. The hit wasn't anything deliberate or heinous by any means, but it was enough to send Kane, left-shoulder first, into the wall.

After looking into the issue, the league has decided Petrovic will not be disciplined for the hit, nor will there be a hearing to discuss the act that took place Tuesday evening at the United Center, in which the Blackhawks won 3-2 in a shootout. The Hawks will take the extra point, but the thought of being without its leading scorer and, at the time, potential Hart Trophy winner, has the team pulling together even more so now than after losing three straight last week.

This is a tough blow, to say the least, for the Blackhawks, especially for what it means to the team's decision-making process before next Monday's trade deadline at 2pm CST. The Hawks are about as close to the cap line as it gets, and while next season is a long ways away, the concept of moving a few players (Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell's names have been swirling around as of late) isn't one that's out of the question.

Both make a lot of money -- Sharp's $5.9 million, Bickell's $4 million, both cap hits -- and both are juicy pieces of trade bait from which Bowman can receive multiple pieces in return. Both, however, are forwards, and both likely will remain on the shelf, at least until after the season ends. However, with a pile of forwards in Rockford, it's possible either or both could be swapped for some much-needed defense.

From the Kane injury comes more "Rockford Roulette," as, according to the Tribune's Chris Kuc, Teuvo Teravainen heads back to Chicago while Trevor van Riemsdyk flips back to the IceHogs.

Regarding Kane's amount of time away, 12 weeks puts the Hawks near the end of what would be the Western Conference Final. If the Hawks can make it that far, and there certainly is the chance of that happening, especially if they can clamp down on D, Kane could return to add his dynamic play to the team, which has supplied 64 of the team's 470 points (14 percent of the total offense, if you will).

After the win against the Panthers at the UC, the Hawks were only three points behind the struggling Blues, who had lost two games in a row and won only five of its last 10 games. Catching St. Louis still seems likely, even without Kane, but missing his speed on the ice and accuracy of his passing and shooting will make the effort that much more of a challenge.

As for Teuvo, his pairing in Kane's slot might not make sense, but Quenneville can be unpredictable in how he assigns his lines for each game. Either way, Teuvo will certainly get his fair share of ice time and familiarity with this team if he hadn't already last month.

It's a little darker in the city these last few days with the reality of both Kane and Derrick Rose out for the foreseeable future. How the Hawks come together and play without one of the most dynamic players in the league will define the 2104-'15 season, and, potentially could provide as a measuring stick for Bowman as to who stays on the team for next year and who goes.

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