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At the Rink blog

Kane staying at center for Chicago?

Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 4:19 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Kane staying at center for Chicago?
It sounds like Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is getting closer to removing the "experiment" tag from Patrick Kane playing center instead of right wing after seeing a lot of good things from the move in the first six games.

Kane has looked pretty good in the middle on the second line, especially when placed with star forward Marian Hossa on the right wing. Hossa and Kane are both playmakers with a knack for setting up scoring chances and they're finding plenty of room to work thanks to the gritty efforts of left winger Daniel Carcillo.

It Kane's defense that had some concerned about the move, but he's been solid and knows how to use quickness with the stick to backcheck in the defensive zone. He's also holding his own in face-offs.

"We like the way he plays," Quenneville said. "Defensively you're comfortable with him and offensively a lot of good things have been happening – especially that combo with him and (Hossa). I believed that it could very well happen (all along), that he's that type of player that could adapt to that situation – especially since he's been a center his whole life. Immediately it looked like he was comfortable down low, so we've been pleased."

If it works long-term, at least for the rest of this season, it could turn out to be a brilliant move by the Hawks -- who appeared to need a second line center via free agency or trade. Now, with Kane doing the job, it gives Hawks general manager Stan Bowman a little more flexibility with the roster.

Kane hasn't scored a point in a couple of games, however, so he's looking to break out again on Saturday night against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

The Hawks are unveiling statues of team legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita before the game outside the United center, but Kane said he isn't daydreaming of having his own someday.

"Right now, I'm just trying to get back on the score sheet after two games," he said, laughing. "I'm not really worried about a statue."
Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff