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Kane starring in scrimmages as left hand heals

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO -- So much for the plan.

It took Chicago Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane all of one training camp day without scrimmaging to figure out a way to get himself back into action during scrimmages -- which happened on Sunday in just the second day of Chicago's camp.

Kane, who had offseason surgery to repair the scaphoid bone in his left hand, also looked really good in his first scrimmage session, scoring a pair of goals. He then followed it up on Monday with another scrimmage and practice at the United Center, where he picked up a pretty assist in the second half of the scrimmage by setting up prospect Kyle Beach for an easy tap-in goal.

On that play, Kane held off a defender with his right arm while scooping the puck with the stick in only his left hand before sliding a pass through traffic near the crease to a wide-open Beach on the other side.

"Well, there you go," Kane said as his session ended. "That proves it. The left hand must be OK, I guess."

Through three days of camp, Kane is tied for the team scoring lead with 2 goals and 6 points. The other top scorer, Peter LeBlanc, has 4 goals and 6 points while playing on the same scrimmage team as Kane.

Still, Kane won't play in Chicago's first preseason game against the Edmonton Oilers at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday night in Saskatoon, SK. Instead, he'll go through another workout with a group of players who aren't playing in that game, continuing to work on the range of motion in his wrist.


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Originally, Kane said the plan for his return was to practice twice a day and not scrimmage until he got medical clearance for contact. That timeline just wasn't working for Kane, however. He's been anxious to scrimmage for a while and even coaxed Hawks athletic trainers into letting him participate in a post-scrimmage shootout on the first day of camp at the team's Training Camp Festival, held Saturday in front of roughly 18,000 fans at the United Center.

That went well, so he decided to push the idea of scrimmaging heading into the second day of camp on Sunday at Johnny's Icehouse West -- the Hawks' secondary training facility.

"When you watch the scrimmages, you just want to be out there -- so I was kind of pushing for that," Kane said. "I called my doctor and told him what I wanted to do and he said to go for it, as long as there's no pain. So, I showed (Hawks trainers) the text message and they kind of looked at me like, 'Whatever,' so I went out for a scrimmage yesterday and today."

How'd the wrist feel?

"Pretty much the same," Kane said. "The only thing that's sore is when they work on my range of motion and they work that pretty hard, which is probably just making it stronger. It's all good right now. (Scrimmaging) is way better than just practicing. I just wanted to do that, and I'm hoping when I get (the brace) off it'll be back to normal or even better. Hopefully things keep improving."

Kane's scrimmage teammates aren't the only ones who've noticed his return to competitive play, either. His usual center on the top line in the regular season, Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, also took note of "Kaner's" big debut on Sunday.

"He looks fine," Toews said, before quipping: "He's passing the puck a lot, which is great. So I'll be ready for that."
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