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."