Slumping Kane working through Blackhawks' frustrations

  • Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane is in a scoring slump with 7 goals in 32 games.

    Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane is in a scoring slump with 7 goals in 32 games. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/12/2022 7:51 PM

Patrick Kane minced no words when asked to evaluate his 2021-22 campaign thus far, calling it one of the most disappointing of his long, illustrious career.

"There's been numerous times where I could've cashed in and scored goals," Kane said after the Blackhawks practiced Wednesday at Fifth Third Arena. "It's frustrating when you feel that's a strong part of your game and it's not a part that's working for you."

 

Kane has 7 goals in 32 games, with 3 coming Nov. 1 against Ottawa. Go back to last year -- when he scored just once in the final 16 games -- and he has 8 goals in the last 48 games.

Over the same time, Alex DeBrincat has 35 goals, Brandon Hagel has 12, Dominik Kubalik has 10 and Kirby Dach has 7.

Kane does have 25 assists, which means he could hit 60 for just the third time in his career.

But with DeBrincat the only Hawk consistently scoring, Kane knows just how big it would be if he'd start converting on a regular basis.

"You're always trying to make the right play as an offensive guy, and then let the goals and assists work themselves out after that," Kane said. "If I cannot worry about it but start doing it more often ... it'll help this team even more."

Kane's career shooting percentage is 11.7, but he connected a career-low 7.9% last season. This season is even worse at 6.1%. That ranks 257th out of 293 forwards who have taken at least 40 shots on goal.

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Kane's been dealing with an undisclosed injury for a while and it's unclear how much it's affecting him. He said he's not thinking about getting it fixed during the season.

"Everyone's dealing with something at this point of the year," Kane said. "As a player you're always focused on certain things, trying to make your body feel as good as it possibly can. That's no different for me and the situation I'm in right now."

Legacy night

Andrew Shaw will be honored during the Hawks' game against Montreal Thursday as part of the team's Legacy Night series. Shaw, a fifth-round pick in 2011, helped the Hawks win Stanley Cups in 2013 and 2015 and also played three seasons with the Canadiens.

"I'm sure it will be a roller coaster of emotion," Shaw said. "Excitement. Happiness. Even a little sad. You get 10 great years out of hockey, playing in the NHL for two great organizations, winning two Stanley Cups and -- not (that it was) taken from you -- but not being able to do that (anymore), it'll be emotional. But I look forward to it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The hard-nosed, always fired-up Shaw scored 116 goals and had 131 assists in 544 games. He played just 14 games last season before deciding to retire after suffering yet another concussion.

Shaw misses the game, but says he loves being able to spend so much time with his wife and kids.

"I miss the locker room, being around the guys," Shaw said. "You go your entire life being around the locker room with your buddies every single day to not seeing them (it's) obviously tough mentally.

"But I have a great support system; I've got a lot of friends at home. ... I do have a lot of people around me to help me through it. Being there with my family is very special."

Reichel to play

The Hawks assigned Lukas Reichel to the taxi squad Wednesday and plan to play him against Montreal Thursday. Reichel, drafted 17th overall by the Hawks in 2020, leads the Rockford IceHogs with 11 goals. His 20 points are tied for ninth among AHL rookies.

Interim coach Derek Smith said Reichel will likely play in two games then go back to Rockford.

"There's a game plan with this kid and we don't want to ruin it. We don't want to ruin him," King said. "Sometimes giving a kid like that too much could hurt him in the long run. It's a marathon, not a sprint. We'll see how he does and we'll reassess after a couple games."

Roster moves

The Blackhawks removed defenseman Erik Gustafsson and goalie Kevin Lankinen from COVID protocol and put them on the active roster. Also, Nicolas Beaudin was assigned to the taxi squad, while forwards Kurtis Gabriel, Mike Hardman and Josiah Slavin, and goalies Cale Moris and Arvid Soderblom were assigned to Rockford.

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