There was a time when Patrick Kane dreamed of playing in his hometown of Buffalo for the Sabres.
That was before his life changed in 2007 when the Blackhawks made him the first pick in the draft.
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Kane has won two Stanley Cups here and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP this year, and he was rookie of the year in 2008.
Now Kane says even his buddies back in Buffalo would prefer it if he stayed in Chicago when his contract expires after next season.
"I think they like making the trip out to Chicago and coming to some games here, being in front of great crowds at the United Center," Kane said. "It's different for them. They're pretty much saying don't come back to Buffalo, stay in Chicago."
One big thing the Hawks have in their favor is the Sabres are bad and don't look to be improving anytime soon. They still haven't won this season (0-5-1) and have scored just 6 goals. It's their worst start offensively since their first season in the NHL (1970-71).
Bigger the better:
Bryan Bickell was back on the first line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the third period Saturday against Buffalo. Bickell led the Hawks with 4 hits after getting just 5 in the first four games.
"I feel like there's a lot of pressure on him," Kane said. "I don't know if that comes from the coaching staff or the media or whatever it is. But he'll be fine.
"He wants to do well, and I think he does play better when he's physical out there. I thought he had a fine game (Saturday). When he plays simple and plays hard like that he's going to be effective."
It was a solid weekend for the Hawks, who took 4 out of 4 points with 1-goal wins over the Islanders and Buffalo.
"We've been close the last few nights," Jonathan Toews said after Friday's victory over the Islanders. "In the game against St. Louis and obviously against Tampa Bay, we felt that there's a few points there that we left on the table.
"Tonight could be one of those nights where you maybe fall into that trend where you start squeezing the stick a little bit too hard late in the game when you're only up 1 goal, but I think we just maintained our composure. We know what we have to do to protect those leads and to play smart late in games."