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Kane eager to get Blackhawks back into playoffs

Forward using last-place finish in division in 2017-18 as motivation

by Chris Kuc / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane is using the adversity the Chicago Blackhawks went through in missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in a decade as motivation to prepare for this season.

"The way the season went last year, you know everyone is going to come back with extra motivation," Kane said last weekend during the annual Blackhawks Convention. "The biggest thing right now is getting ready for the season (and) trying to put ourselves in a good position to have a good start."

Kane said the Blackhawks, who finished last in the Central Division at 33-39-10, can draw inspiration from other teams that have had quick turnarounds.

"Look at a team like Colorado, they finished in last place (in 2016-17) and then last year they were one of the hottest teams in the League and made the playoffs and had a great season," Kane said. "That can happen with any team. That gives us a little bit of a positive outlook."

Coach Joel Quenneville said he is considering playing Kane at right wing on a line with Nick Schmaltz at center and Brandon Saad at left wing. But Kane isn't letting himself think that far ahead.

Video: WPG@CHI: Kane beats Comrie five-hole to open scoring

"I'm just getting ready for training camp," Kane said. "You try to come in the best shape you can and have the best training you can have as a pro and take it from there."

That's why Kane has been training hard during the offseason, including a lengthy personal on-ice practice session on July 20 during Chicago's development camp.

"There are certain things I wanted to work on a little bit more this summer," Kane said. "I'm just trying to work on things within my game, within your body that's going to help certain things on the ice, whether it's lateral movement or agility, speed, explosiveness, things like that.

"It's unbelievable the amount of preparation and work that goes into an offseason now. But you definitely start to see the results."

Kane, 29, led the Blackhawks in scoring last season with 76 points (27 goals, 49 assists) in 82 games. Still, that was down from 89 points (34 goals, 55 assists) in 2016-17 and a League-leading 106 points (46 goals, 60 assists) in 2015-16.

With the Blackhawks out of the playoffs. Kane played for the United States at the IIHF World Championship and was named the tournament's most valuable player after leading all scorers with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists).

"I had a really good experience playing in the Worlds," Kane said. "That was … something I was really happy I did. I probably should have done that the previous couple of years as well. That was fun."

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