We all knew that Patrick Kane was on the edge of finding the next level in his already elite game. We all believed that he could surpass that and become a better player.
That day the young superstar winger from Buffalo, N.Y. would reach his full potential for the Chicago Blackhawks has finally come to fruition. So far—through three games this season—Kane has shinned for the 'Hawks, recording five points and leading the team to three consecutive wins.
Yes, it's only been three games and the Blackhawks are taking advantage of some really good teams. Considering the short training camp—just how much of that can be attributed to Kane's hot start?
It's no coincidence that Kane is cruising now that he has been put back at his natural position and will no longer be expected to fill in as a second-line center. The position change last season stumped his point production and almost rendered Kane's skill useless.
It also helps that Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp have been paired up with Kane on the second line—the added offensive skill will only pump up Kane's production.
Kane's brief stint on EHC Biel, while in Switzerland during the lockout, helped him come into the season in mid-season form—faster, stronger and more prepared to take on the shortened 48-game season.
We only have five imports on a team. It's important they have a big role. They have to lead the team. Patrick is still a young player, but I told him, 'You have to lead the guys. You have to talk to the guys. Every guy wants to talk to you.' In Chicago, you have other superstars on his level. Here, he's the only one. I think it was a little new to him. As time went on, he did more of that. He was really the leader not only as a hockey player, but as a person, too. I think he can take something from that.
The stars are aligning in just the right order for Kane to have a career season, possibly even bringing home the Hart Memorial Trophy or Art Ross Trophy.
Kane has been humble about the start, saying that it's best not to think about it with a full slate of games just around the corner (via Chris Kuc The Chicago Tribune):
It's a good start but you can't think about it too much. One of the things about this season is you're playing so many games in a short amount of time so it's almost like you win one, 'all right, think about the next one.' If you keep doing that you're going to have a good recipe for success.
Kane's outlook on the rest of the season is spot on, and it will only benefit him to look towards future games rather then dwelling on what is now in the past.
It will be interesting to see how he plays as more NHL teams get more accustomed to the shorter season.
"His style, it's not like he skates like this player or that player," Schläpfer said. "Patrick Kane is Patrick Kane. It's the hands he has and the feeling for the game. Patrick is maybe on stick handling, feeling, the form, he's maybe the best in the world to be honest with you. I have never seen a player better than him, and I've seen many players in the NHL playoffs and world championships," (via ESPNChicago).
In the meantime, let's hope Kane is able to remain consistent throughout the playoffs and the rest of his career.
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