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updated: 4/4/2013 8:04 PM

Kane glad to see trade deadline pass

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Patrick Kane, for one, was happy to see the trade deadline come and go with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman mostly standing pat with what he had.

Bowman did trade for center-winger Michal Handzus on Monday, but for the most part the GM gave his team a vote of confidence and now it's up to the players to get the job done in the playoffs.

"I know hockey is a business, but I think it's nice they're kind of giving this group a chance, especially after what happened last year," Kane said. "We had a pretty good season with over 100 points, then obviously a disappointing first-round loss. I think this group in here doesn't want to go through that again. It will be nice to see what happens here because I think we've got something special."

With 12 games left in the regular season and the Hawks' lead over Anaheim down to 2 points in the Western Conference before Thursday's game against St. Louis, it's going to be important to play well down the stretch.

"We need to just keep getting better as a team," Kane said. "Getting healthy is the biggest thing, first and foremost. You look at the lineup we have right now and it looks like we're going to have three players sitting out every night who are good players and could pretty much play on any team. Obviously we feel confident as a team."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville says where the Hawks finish doesn't matter -- playing well going into the playoffs is the goal.

"We like our team and we like our depth," said Quenneville, who wasn't sure if the West got weaker or stronger at the trade deadline.

"It's tough to handicap that," Quenneville said. "I would say that in the West, whoever is going to be on the top eight, I bet you every team thinks they can win the Cup. That's how competitive it is."

Roster watch:

NHL rosters can be expanded now that the trade deadline is past, but that doesn't mean the Hawks will do anything right now.

"If we have openings," GM Stan Bowman said. "We're not going to bring guys up just to sit on the sidelines, but it gives us more flexibility. They've got a playoff push down there (at Rockford) and we're trying to win here every night. We're not hesitant to bring guys up if we want them to play, but right now there aren't any openings in the lineup here."

That means defenseman Steve Montador and winger Rostislav Olesz will stay in Rockford until they are needed in Chicago.

"They're playing great hockey right now," Bowman said. "You can sort of see that they're NHL players; they're just a little bit better than the rest of the group. They're experienced and understand how to play. I think they're going to provide a nice boost for us here. They both hadn't played in a while, either one of them, and now they're getting some consistency in their game and close to their midseason form."

Hart Trophy talk:

With Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby out indefinitely with a broken jaw following surgery, Patrick Kane's MVP chances have slightly improved.

The Penguins have lost two games in a row since Crosby went out of the lineup following a 15-game winning streak.

"He's making a case for himself right now with the way Pittsburgh's played the last two games," joked Kane. "Maybe the team is making a case for him that he should be MVP. But he's a great player and the team seems like a totally different team when he's not on the ice, so full props to him."

Injury report:

While the Hawks got Marian Hossa back into the lineup Thursday, Patrick Sharp missed his 12th straight game with a shoulder problem.

"It stinks watching games -- I want to be out there," Sharp said. "It's nice being in the position we're in, but that doesn't make it any easier sitting out."

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