-- Patrick Kane
has been working hard this summer to add some bulk to his frame and speed to his game, but it was the cast on his left forearm that drew most of the attention at Friday’s opening of the Chicago Blackhawks
' annual fan convention.
Kane isn't sure exactly when it happened, but he has a fractured bone in his left wrist that will require surgery next week to repair.
sustained a left wrist injury which came to light recently during his off-season training," head team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement released by the team Friday. "He will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a scaphoid fracture. We anticipate a full recovery in 6-8 weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues."
During his first three NHL seasons, Kane missed only two games. Last season, however, he sustained an ankle injury after being checked hard into the boards at the United Center on Dec. 5 and missed extended time. Despite the absence, Kane finished with 27 goals and 73 points in 73 games.
However, that wasn't good enough to suit his own expectations, and the 22-year old forward vowed to use the off-season to take his game "to the next level," and become an even bigger star.
The No. 1 pick of the 2007 Entry Draft reportedly was on his way to doing that when this wrist fracture put a crimp in his plans. Kane said it won't completely shut down his training regimen, though.
"I feel good," he said. "I put a lot of time and effort in this summer to get myself to where I need to be. I told a lot of people that I'm going to try and make that next step next year and that's something I'm still intending on doing. I'm still trying to become the best player I can be."
Kane first learned of the diagnosis Thursday while having the continuing soreness in the wrist checked. That's also when Blackhawks Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville
heard the news.
"Obviously I was sad about the news (at first), but at the same time, from what I've heard from the doctors and Stan and Joel, it's definitely something you want to fix," Kane said. "I'm happy we're doing it now rather than when we're coming to training camp and then I'd be out two months after that."
Bowman agreed and said the Hawks are fortunate they discovered the injury now rather than later.
Kane, who has 103 goals and 303 points in 317 NHL games, is a key part of Chicago's core group from the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship team that's been retained with long-term contracts. He's a top-six forward who likely will play most of his minutes on the top line next to captain and star center Jonathan Toews
and will be looked upon to hold down a sizeable chunk of the team's scoring load.
He also has 20 goals and 48 points in 45 playoff games, including the Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 6 against the Flyers in the 2010 Final.
"It was one of those things where it needed to be fixed," Bowman said of Kane's injury. "Those things happen sometimes. Fortunately for us, he'll be ready come training camp. You never want to have injuries, but if you're going to have them, then the summer time is the best time."
Kane said he initially might have injured the wrist in the Hawks' seven-game first-round playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks
, but it didn't feel bad enough to keep him from working out.
"It's something that was bothering me in the playoffs a little bit," Kane said. "We checked it out and there was no fracture. I knew something was wrong, so I'm guessing that working out and skating, shooting the puck, those kinds of things where I put a little more pressure on it probably made it a little bit worse."
Quenneville, however, was pleased with the work Kane put in before the fracture was found. Not only was Kane sporting a clean-cut look Friday, but he also looked like he'd made significant progress in the weight room.
"He looks good and I still think he can do a lot of other things to prepare as he's going along," Quenneville said. "We anticipate him being ready to start the season, so that's good news."