When he took an awkward spill into the boards on a crosscheck from Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic, Patrick Kane immediately felt that something wasn’t right.
“I knew it was pretty bad,” Kane said on Sunday at the United Center. “Just kind of thinking, hopefully they tell me it’s not as bad as I think and hoping for the best news possible. I kind of knew it was bad right away, and once the doctors looked at it and they got the X-ray, they confirmed that.”
The Blackhawks’ offensive leader was on pace for a career year and led the league in points when his regular season came to an end on Feb. 24. Kane was certainly in the conversation for the Hart trophy as the league’s MVP, which made the first few days after the injury even tougher to handle.
“I think I’ve kind of moved on from it now,” Kane said. “But at the same time, it was definitely a tough couple days after you hear the news of the injury and the extent of how long you’ll be out.”
At first, Kane stayed at home with his mom and girlfriend while binge-watching seasons three and four of "Homeland." Now No. 88 is focused on his rehab.
“I’m in the gym, pretty much just working out my lower body right now and riding the bike," Kane said. "My motion and movement is pretty good, so I’m doing a lot of rehab with movements and mobility.... I took a couple days off, got back here, tried to start working out again and get in the best shape as possible."
Kane, who has a plate and screws in his shoulder, has an optimistic outlook on the team’s chances without him on the ice. His injury gave the Blackhawks some room financially to add some pieces – including Kimmo Timonen and Antoine Vermette – that could actually improve the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup chances should the team advance in his absence.
“You can look back at the end of the year – if we have some good results in the playoffs, maybe you can say this was a blessing in disguise because of the moves we were allowed to make," Kane said. "We acquired some very valuable assets, great leadership and a puck-moving defenseman in Kimmo, and then it looks like Vermette is going to fit in pretty well on our team. A left-handed centerman who plays both ways, pretty strong, good on faceoffs, can score goals – so I’m sure once those guys get comfortable they’ll play even better. We’re lucky to have them."
While the Blackhawks take the on the Rangers tonight looking for their third straight win, Kane remains about 11 weeks away from returning.
“I wish I could play tonight; that’d be awesome,” Kane said. “You’ve got to be patient with it. You’ve got to listen to the doctors and make sure you’re not putting yourself in a position to reinjure it and make it even worse down the line.”