Kane not worried about trying to top career-best season
Patrick Kane scored a career-best 46 goals and racked up an NHL-best 106 points last season.
He went on a franchise-best 26-game point streak.
And he was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league MVP.
So what's he going to do for an encore? He has absolutely no idea.
"I'm a big believer of kind of wiping the slate clean, take it day by day (and) game by game," Kane said Tuesday after practicing at training camp for the first time. "There's definitely some motivation where you want to prove yourself again. That's a little bit (of that) in the back of your mind, but like I said, just take it on a day-by-day basis like I did last season."
Kane was at camp earlier than he'd hoped after Team USA went 0-3 in the World Cup. He won't play in the preseason opener Wednesday at the United Center, although he admitted it would be fun to go out in front of the home crowd to get "a new season started."
Kane is intrigued to see who among the young forwards will step up and seize one of 3-4 openings on the roster. He expects whomever fills those spots to be difference-makers as the Hawks attempt to duplicate their deep playoff runs of 2010, '13, '14 and '15.
As for the off-season, Kane spent it in Chicago and enjoyed getting out to play area golf courses like Butler National, Medinah, Butterfield and Oak Brook. Other than not going home to Buffalo, the 27-year-old superstar realized it was going to be a different summer when he returned from a vacation and the Stanley Cup playoffs were still going on.
"It's not something you're used to or paying attention to. You're always kind of in the mix," Kane said. "It wasn't fun. It's going to be nice to … get ourselves into the playoffs and give ourselves a shot again."
Duncan Keith (knee) participated in practice Tuesday and said he's feeling "better and better every day the more I skate."
Keith, who will definitely not play in the first four preseason games, wouldn't try to guess if he'd be 100 percent healthy for the season opener on Oct. 12. As for how he looks, assistant coach Mike Kitchen isn't seeing anything other than the same-old Keith.
"He's got a lot of jump out there. He does," Kitchen said. "I think he's starting to feel more comfortable."
Fans attending the first preseason game Wednesday at the United Center won't see Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith or Brent Seabrook, but they will get a good look at players trying to win a spot on coach Joel Quenneville's squad.
Nick Schmaltz, Vincent Hinostroza and Richard Panik are expected to skate on the top line, with the second line being Tyler Motte, Tyler Kero and Ryan Hartman. Other notable forwards include Ryan Hartman, Mark McNeill, Dennis Rasmussen, Jordin Tootoo and camp standout Alexandre Fortin.
The starting defensemen will be Brian Campbell, Gustav Forsling, Erik Gustafsson, Ville Pokka, Viktor Svedberg and Trevor van Riemsdyk.
Scott Darling is expected to play the entire game in net.