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updated: 2/14/2013 11:37 AM

Blackhawks' Kane red-hot ... and looking to get better

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  • The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, here moving past Nashville's Shea Weber, has 20 points in the first 13 games.

      The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, here moving past Nashville's Shea Weber, has 20 points in the first 13 games.
    Associated Press

 
 

Patrick Kane has no explanation for being off to the best start of his career.

With another assist in Tuesday's shootout loss to the Ducks, Kane has at least 1 point in 12 of the Blackhawks' 13 games and 20 for the season. The only game Kane didn't register a point was Jan. 27 against Detroit.

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"When success comes you just want to keep improving and getting better," Kane said. "I'm just trying to become the best player I can.

"Sometimes you get breaks where the pucks are finding you and the pucks are going in and sometimes you don't. You've got to take advantage when it is working."

Kane credits going to play in Switzerland during the lockout with preparing him for the NHL season.

"Maybe I had a little bit of a head start going over to play in Switzerland," Kane said. "Who knows? It's a good feeling right now."

A year ago Kane still was recovering from off-season wrist surgery.

"One of the big things is I wasn't coming off wrist surgery," Kane said of his strong start. "I felt like I was working real hard in the summer (of 2011), and that kind of slowed me down. This summer I had a full summer to work out and was healthy. Sometimes health is the biggest thing.

"You've got to be careful because it's only (13) games into the season. That's one of the things I keep telling myself. Try not to be satisfied with what's happened so far, for myself personally, and for the team.

"We've been winning a lot of games and things have been a lot of fun around here, but we can get better."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has no complaints about the way Kane is playing. Not only does the Hawks winger have 20 points, but he is a plus-6.

"He's had a great start," Quenneville said. "I thought his play has been extremely in the right place. He wants the puck, he wants to score, he's shooting the puck better than he has and is making some nice highlight-type plays.

"We like the consistency in his game and that line has been effective. Kaner has some real jump to his game."

Quenneville thinks playing in Europe definitely helped Kane start fast.

"He's had a good approach to this season," Quenneville said. "I commend him on how he has handled it. Playing in Europe might have helped as well. His conditioning, his frame of mind, his quickness on the ice, his strength, his preparation, his focus -- you can't say exactly one thing, but he's got it all going."

Jonathan Toews also is off to a strong start with 13 points, but it's Kane who has impressed everyone, including the captain.

"He's been himself; he just finds the puck and finds a way to score," Toews said. "He can be frustrated and not creating too much for two periods, but in the third period he finds a way to score 1 or 2 and help our team.

"He's always effective when he scores, and he's got to keep that going."

tsassone@dailyherald.com

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