Kahun's play earns him chance to play with Toews, DeBrincat

 
 
Updated 9/24/2018 7:28 PM
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  • Chicago Blackhawks' Dominik Kahun, left, and Columbus Blue Jackets' Nick Foligno vie for the puck during the first period of a preseason game Tuesday, Sept. 18 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Chicago Blackhawks' Dominik Kahun, left, and Columbus Blue Jackets' Nick Foligno vie for the puck during the first period of a preseason game Tuesday, Sept. 18 in Columbus, Ohio. Associated Press

The play starts innocently enough.

Blackhawks forward John Hayden has the puck along the boards and deep in the Ottawa zone, then slides it behind the goalie before two Senators can close in.

A second later, Dominik Kahun swoops in. He corrals the puck and quickly sends a no-look pass right back to Hayden, who is perfectly positioned in the right slot.

Wham!

Just like that, Hayden's blast finds its mark for the final tally of a 5-2 preseason victory last Friday.

And two days later, Kahun found himself on a line with Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat as the Hawks opened Week 2 of training camp at MB Ice Arena.

"I thought he played well at center (during the first week)," said coach Joel Quenneville. "I want to see how he handles playing up there with some top guys. He sees plays, makes plays and we'll see how well he complements them."

Whether or not Kahun becomes a household name this season remains to be seen, but he's certainly opened plenty of eyes since the Hawks began camp on Sept. 14.

Kahun spent the last four seasons playing for Munich ECH in the DEL, Germany's pro hockey league. He scored 35 goals in 124 games the past three seasons, and the Hawks signed him to a two-year deal in March. Kahun had about nine other NHL teams make overtures for his services, but his agent sold him on Chicago.

"I also had the best feeling right away from this organization," Kahun said.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound forward does have a clause in his contract that says he can go back to Germany instead of being assigned to the AHL. But that hardly seems a concern at this point.

"Ton of skill, ton of poise," Hayden said. "Made the game pretty easy against Ottawa. With him, it's play recognition and understanding where his linemates are. ...

"After that play, it felt like we've been playing together for a few years."

Kahun was born in the Czech Republic and began skating when he was 3. His mom moved to Germany a year later, but she would make the hourlong drive back to their home country so he could develop his skills there.

"In Czech, hockey is the biggest thing," Kahun said. "So I started to go on the ice when I was 3 years (old) and since then, I've always loved it."

The transition to the U.S. has been made somewhat easier with the Hawks having fellow Czech Republic native David Kampf on the team. The two hang out a lot together and enjoy speaking to each other in their native tongue.

Kahun admitted he still worries about making mistakes, but that overall the experience has been fantastic.

Asked if he's surprised himself, he said: "A little bit. I thought it would take me a little bit longer. I'm not at my top level yet.

"I can still do more and I want to try to show it."

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