Kane relishes role of Blackhawks' 'elder' statesman
Even though he's only 23, Patrick Kane has been there, done that when it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In this, his fifth year in the league, Kane already has made four playoff appearances and won the Cup.
So when any of the handful of rookies in the Blackhawks' locker room wants advice about what awaits after this final week of the regular season, he's a pretty good guy to turn to.
And as a maturing leader on the team, Kane relishes that role because he remembers just what it was like when he was one of the new guys.
"When I first came in, Kevyn Adams was one of those guys for me," Kane said. "I worked with him in training camp. He tried to show me the ways of the NHL.
"But probably the main guys were Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook -- guys who had been here a bit and kind of knew what it was like to be a young guy coming in."
Now it's his turn to offer guidance to the "young" guys.
"I hope so. They're great guys, easy to get along with. They're really enjoying their time in the NHL and are really enthusiastic and just excited to be here," Kane said. "It's nice to be around them -- fun to have that youthful energy and excitement.
"I know I'm only 23 years old, but I'd like to think I'm one of those guys that takes them under my wing and shows them the ropes a little bit."
Among the rookies champing at the bit in anticipation of the postseason is Andrew Shaw, who has been on a tear of late with 22 points in 35 games.
"The young guys, we talk about it," Shaw said. "We're all excited for our first experience in the playoffs. It's nerve-racking.
"I'm excited for it to start and see how crazy this building gets in the playoffs. It's going to be exciting; hopefully it goes pretty well for me."
Kane, who has been the recipient of a couple of sweet assists from Shaw in the past few games, can't wait to see how the 20-year-old and his fellow rookies crank it up during the playoffs.
"Shawsie for sure," Kane said. "He's a guy who's obviously very excited to be up here and will be one of those guys who will do anything he can to help us win games like he's doing right now.
"But all of them, Shawsie, Haysie, Leds, Krugs … guys who may have been there before but haven't got a taste of how nice it can be when you win a series. It's something you want them to see because it's a fun time of year."
Shaw has experienced playoff-like games recently against St. Louis, Nashville and Vancouver, but he knows it's still nothing like the real deal.
"That last game against Vancouver, they said it's more intense than that," he said. "Just try to get prepared for it."
But the key to the postseason, according to Kane, is to take it as serious as possible but also try to enjoy the moment as well.
Not the easiest of mixes.
"Everyone says how fast it is, and it is fast, but at the same time it's the funnest hockey you want to play," Kane said.
"The time of year is unbelievable -- you can wear shorts and sandals to the rink, the weather's nice, everyone's excited about what possibly could happen in a couple of months time. It's just a fun time.
"You want to take it real serious and make sure you're doing everything you can to play at your peak, but I think sometimes with players you think, 'It's playoff hockey, it's playoff hockey, it's so much different, it's so much harder.'
"But I think if you really enjoy it and show that you really want to play well, it's a really fun time of year."