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Blackhawks forward Kane injured, out three weeks

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane will be out at least three weeks and could miss the rest of the regular season after sustaining a lower-body injury during the second period of a 4-0 victory against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

Kane's left leg was hit after teammate Sheldon Brookbank checked Blues forward Brenden Morrow to the ice along the boards. Morrow hit Kane's left leg and he fell awkwardly to the ice.

Kane's last shift ended with 7:21 remaining in the second period. He skated slowly to the bench then headed to the dressing room for examination. Kane assisted on a power-play goal by Duncan Keith, his 69th point of the season, with 54.4 seconds left in the first period of a 4-0 victory.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Kane will miss at least three weeks. When asked if he would play again during the regular season, he replied, "We'll see."

The regular season ends April 13.

"Certainly he's a special player and we'll have to work our way through it, knowing what he brings to our team," Quenneville said. "It's definitely a huge loss for us, but we've been fortunate as far as not getting hit too hard [with injuries]. You're going to get tested at some point."

It's just that they're getting tested now, while they're locked in a tight race for positioning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 12 games left in the regular season. It's bad timing for the Blackhawks, who are also without forward Brandon Saad (upper body) and defenseman Michal Rozsival (lower body), but they're already set on getting through it in decent shape.

"Guys need to step up," said forward Ben Smith, who scored a goal against the Blues and has centered Kane's second line for the past three games. "Whoever that is, whoever's playing those roles, will contribute. We're never going to make up for guys like Saad and [Kane], but guys will have to step up and play some big minutes."

Smith is one of those guys. Center Andrew Shaw, who also scored against the Blues and spent much of the night camped in front of the St. Louis net, is another.

"[Kane's] a great player and you can't fill his shoes, that's for sure," Shaw said. "You've just got to go out there and compete and work for one another."

Quenneville said the sum of the Blackhawks' parts will have to overcome the loss of their top scorer, who at one point this season was hot on the trail of Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby for the NHL scoring lead.

"I [think] whether it's the power play or the quality or the quantity of the ice time that [Kane] absorbs, everybody's going to get a little bit more," Quenneville said. "And I still think that four-line rotation that makes us consistent in a lot of games is something that we'll have to even exaggerate [more] as we go along here."

It was reported prior to the game by TSN's Bob McKenzie that Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen, a talented 19-year old, had been cleared by the Finnish hockey federation to play for either the Blackhawks or their American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford, Ill., the Rockford IceHogs.

Teravainen's season with Jokerit of Finland's Liiga ended this past weekend, but Quenneville doesn't know how or if Kane's injury affects what they do with the No. 18 pick from the 2012 NHL Draft. If Teravainen plays a total of 10 games between the regular season and playoffs, the Blackhawks will lose a year off his three-year entry-level contract.

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