How many times have we seen Patrick Kane pull off a how-did-he-do-that assist for the Blackhawks over the years?
This is just an estimate, but probably a million or so.
Kane did it again Friday night against Minnesota, with a no-look, backhand pass on Patrick Sharp's second goal of the game.
"I haven't played with too many skilled players like him," Bryan Bickell said. "He pulls things off that I can only dream about."
Being a master passer wasn't always the M.O. of Kane, who as a youth player was admittedly more of a keeper than a giver.
"Until I was about 11 or 12 years old, I was a player who would just take it down the ice himself and try to score all the time," Kane said. "I finally ran into a coach who said, 'You're going to have to pass the puck or you're going to sit on the bench.'
"I remember I went down the full length of the ice, scored a goal and sat on the bench the rest of the period.
"From that moment on I tried to improve my vision and my passing ability."
Etch it in silver:
Bryan Bickell has a lot of great memories from the Blackhawks' run to the Stanley Cup.
But one thing he doesn't have is his name etched on the actual Stanley Cup.
Talk about a motivational tool.
"To be there and just experience the atmosphere and what they went through to win was great," Bickell said. "Unfortunately, there's rules of the league that you have to play so many games and that last game of the Finals to get your name on the Cup.
"But I think that makes me want to do it even more, to get my name on the Cup."
Not quite ready:
Though both Dave Bolland and Ray Emery skated Saturday, coach Joel Quenneville has ruled both of them out for Game 3.
"Their health, when they say they're ready, then we'll gauge it from there," Quenneville said. "Sometimes you have to be smart, so we'll see."
Even though he's among the favorites to win the Calder Trophy, Hawks rookie Brandon Saad said his mind is firmly focused elsewhere right now.
"It's always nice to get individual awards and be recognized," Saad said, "but the main goal right now is to beat Minnesota."
Patrick Kane, himself a Calder winner, likes what he's seen from Saad.
"He was awesome from the first game he came in," Kane said. "He complements (Marian) Hossa and (Jonathan) Toews very well on the top line. They've had a lot of success this year and he's been a big part of it.
"It would have been fun to see what he could have done in an 82-game season."
Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom, who suffered a lower body injury just minutes before the start of Game 1, said after practice Saturday that he's getting better -- but he wouldn't say whether he'd feel comfortable enough to start Game 3 on Sunday.
"It's getting better, it'll get there sooner or later," Backstrom said. "We'll see where we are (Sunday) morning."
Also on Saturday, the Wild practiced without forward Jason Pominville and defenseman Clayton Stoner. Both are likely out Sunday.
He said it:
"They're down two games and if they're down in the game and they want to start some stuff up ... we'll step up to the occasion if that happens. Hopefully that doesn't happen and we'll just play hockey."
-- Bryan Bickell on what to expect from the Wild in Game 3