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Reigning NHL points leader Patrick Kane was injured early in the Chicago Blackhawks‘ game versus the Florida Panthers Tuesday and is expected to be out 12 weeks–at a very difficult point in the season.
The team announced Wednesday that Kane’s upper-body injury was a fractured clavicle, surgically repaired Northwestern Memorial Hospital by Hawks team physician Michael Terry and Bradley Merk.
“Patrick underwent successful surgery today to repair his left clavicle fracture,” Terry said in a statement. “The procedure went very well and we anticipate a full recovery in approximately 12 weeks.”
The winger, who sports pundits have called a Hart Trophy contender this year, fell awkwardly into the boards after a cross-check from behind to his lower back by Alex Petrovic as Kane rushed to the puck.
Petrovic served a two-minute penalty for the cross-check; and Kane, who seemed to fall into the boards trying to recover from the hit and continue on for the puck, needed assistance off the ice and didn’t return to the game.
“You just need guys to step up,” Kris Versteeg said after . “You can’t replace the guy. You’d be lying if you said you could. You look around the room and there are guys who have done some pretty good things in this league. It’s going to have to be by committee. Look at Kane, he’s 20, 30 points ahead of the next guy on the team (in scoring). It’s hard to replace that. This team always seems to find ways so we’re just going to have to do that now and dig deep.”
Captain Jonathan Toews, who followed Kane to the bench, scored back-door with about 24 seconds remaining on the following power play on a setup from Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook.
The Jonathan Toews goal tonight gives him sole possession of 17th on #Blackhawks career points list with 489, passing fellow #19 Troy Murray
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) February 25, 2015
The Blackhawks dominated for much of the remaining the game, with shots favoring Chicago 15-8 in the first and 12-8 in the second. Kris Versteeg gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead with 5:32 left in the second period by hammering in a rebound off a Patrick Sharp shot and Brad Richards assist. That gave Sharp his 500th career point.
Unfortunately, the team couldn’t hold on through regulation, with defense breaking down in the third period–allowing 16 shots on goaltender Scott Darling.
Jussi Jokinen fired a quick shot past Darling with 7:37 left in the game. Brad Boyes and Aleksander Barkov assisted on the play.
Neither team scored through the rest of regulation or during four-on-four overtime.
However, the Blackhawks, and Darling delivered in the shootout.
Even the shootout was a change without Kane, but the Blackhawks were able to manage.
“You get ticked off when the best player in the league gets hit like that,” Versteeg said. “People pay a lot of money to watch Patrick Kane play. It’s never good when he’s out of the lineup, not only for us but for the league.”
The NHL point leader (64, tied) was placed on the long-term injured reserve Wednesday. So, for the rest of the regular season and beyond, the Blackhawks will be missing this:
But, as Coach Joel Quenneville pointed out, they’ve fought through injuries before.
“We lost Jonny (Toews) at a critical time last year,” Quenneville said post-game. “I think Kaner might have been down at the same time for a stretch, as well. And we came together well and played some big games and got some meaningful points. That’s what we’ve got to do now.”
The Blackhawks recalled Teuvo Teravainen from the AHL Rockford, reigniting “Teuvo Time” for the team. Teravainen has six goals and 19 assists in 39 games for the IceHogs this season. He has two goals and two assists in 15 games for the Blackhawks this year, but would likely see more ice time with Kane out.
Tuesday’s game was the last of an eight-game homestand. The Blackhawks rematch against the Panthers at 6:30 p.m. CT Thursday at the BB&T Center before playing Tampa Bay Lightning at 6:30 p.m. CT Friday at the Amalie Arena.