If there's one negative that's always brought up about the current edition of the Blackhawks -- and recent past editions, for that matter -- it's that they lack a true No. 2 center to play alongside Patrick Kane.
Coach Joel Quenneville isn't buying it.
"Everybody says 'we don't have that guy, we don't have that guy,' but it seems to me there are a lot of guys who go into that position and do a good job," Quenneville said. "Whether you're playing with Kane in that spot or with (Marian) Hossa in that spot, that line can usually contribute.
"I don't care if you're on (lines) two, three or four, as long as we keep bringing that energy. Johnny (Toews) line has had a real good year, and Kaner has had a real good year, too, so that line really hasn't missed a beat."
On Thursday at Madison Square Garden, Kane will open the game with yet another center, as newly acquired Peter Regin opens up the dash to the playoffs as the No. 2 center … at least for now.
The former Islander, traded Feb. 6 to the Hawks along with Pierre-Marc Bouchard for a fourth-round pick, made his Hawks debut at Phoenix the following day on the second line alongside Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeg while Kane was attending his grandfather's funeral.
Just what Regin might provide down the stretch is the great unknown.
"We're not 100 percent sure what kind of player he is," Quenneville said. "I think he can score and he can make plays. I think reliability is part of his game.
"Give him a chance offensively to see what's there. You get to play with a guy like Kaner, so in a short amount of time you'll probably get a pretty good assessment of how it's going to work."
Regin can't wait to get on the ice with Kane and show Hawks management just what he's got.
"I'm a decent skater and I have some speed," said Regin, who had 2 goals and 5 assists in 44 games with the Islanders. "When I talked to Stan (Bowman), that was one of the things that he mentioned that he likes.
"It's every hockey players dream to have a lot of rope that you can use offensively," Regin said. "You can play by instinct and not get in trouble for that. That gives you a lot of freedom and creativity.
"That's the way they play here -- always with a lot of energy. It's a fun way to play."
And now, after rushing to Phoenix to join the Hawks in their final game before the break, the 27-year-old has had some time to exhale as he transitions to his new team.
"It was the perfect time to get traded," Regin said. "I got to meet everybody and then I could go back to New York and pack up my stuff. I didn't have to be in a rush.
"And now we have like a mini training camp here where we get to practice a few days in a row with your new teammates. This way we have time to get everything settled off the ice and now we have time to get to know each other and be comfortable on the ice."