(Photo: Chicago Blackhawks Facebook)
“What a tremendous season for Patrick,” General Manager Stan Bowman said. “He started the season very strong and carried our team with his dominant play early allowing our team to stabilize and come together as a group throughout the season. Patrick kept pushing the pace all year long and led not only our team but the entire league which demonstrates how impressive his performance was from day one until Game 82.”
Kane locked in the Art Ross, awarded to the league’s leading scorer, with a career-high 46 goals and 60 assists. He had at least one point in 78 percent of his games played–64 of 82, and finished 17 points ahead of the second-place leading scorer and last year’s winner, Dallas Star Jamie Benn (41 goals, 48 assists).
There were only four times this season where Kane didn’t tally at least one point in back-to-back games. Kane led the league last year before a broken clavicle in February sidelined him for the remainder of the regular season.
“Pretty remarkable year he’s had,” Coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago SunTimes. “Can’t say enough positive things about how impressive his year’s been.”
- Kane’s 26-game points streak from Oct. 17-Dec. 23 (16 goals, 24 assists) broke the Blackhawks record held by Bobby Hull (21 games, 1971-1972) and passed the 18-game American-born player runs held by Eddie Olczyk (Toronto Maple Leafs, 1989-1990) and Phil Kessel (Boston Bruins, 2008-2009). It was also the longest by an active player, surpassing Sidney Crosby’s 25-game streak in 2010-2011 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was stopped in a shutout by the Colorado Avalanche just four points short of the NHL record of 30 points set by Mats Sundin in 1992-1993 with the Quebec Nordiques.
- Kane scored his first two career hat tricks (Jan. 15 in Toronto and April 3 versus Boston), the latter landing him 100 points.
- His 100-point milestone was the first hit by a U.S.-born player in a decade (Doug Weight, Detroit, 1995-1996) and the first by a Blackhawk since Jeremy Roenick in 1993-1994.
- Kane led the league with 37 power play points.
- With three goals and three assists for six points in three games, Kane was named the NHL’s second star of the week for the week ending April 10. The NHL cited Kane’s contribution to the Blackhawks’ four out of six points in that time–locking third place in the Central Division.
For the prior week ending April 10, his linemate Artemi Panarin, earned first star. Panarin (77 points–30 goals, 47 assists) tallied three goals and five assists in three games. He was held pointless in the first game against Minnesota but became the first rookie in Blackhawks history to have back-to-back four-point games with wins over Winnipeg and Boston. He was also instrumental not only in securing the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup spot, but also in Kane’s 100-point hat trick game against Boston.
While Kane took pride in the Art Ross, he noted it wasn’t a solo feat, citing Panarin and center Artem Anisimov among others, and noting there’s much more to do.
“It is an honor being the first American to win the scoring title as there have been so many great hockey players from the United States in the NHL. I take a lot of pride in that, but I also take a lot of pride in doing it with the Chicago Blackhawks. I owe a lot to my teammates, coaches and the organization as I couldn’t have done this without them. This has been a special season, but we still have a lot to accomplish as a team and I look forward to another long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.”
Teammates were quick to credit Kane and the Kane-Anisimov-Panarin line with the Blackhawks’ success this year as they head into the postseason.
“That’s the key thing, consistently producing like the way he’s been doing in this league,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “Nowadays, with the salary cap and how competitive it is, I think it’s tougher to put up more points compared with just five or six years ago, when there were some teams in the league that you kind of knew you were going to [beat] going into the game. Now you can’t think like that. There’s no easy games in the league anymore. That whole line there was pretty much carrying the whole team. They’re a huge part of why we’re in the playoffs this year. He’s been more than impressive to watch.”
The Blackhawks lost out on home ice for the playoffs, which begin Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues.
The team is relying on their Art Ross Trophy winner to remain hot. Kane has put up more points against the Blues more than any team in his career–with 46 points in 48 career meetings.
The Blackhawks will start the best-of-seven series short defenseman Duncan Keith (game one, last of six-game suspension), but with the return of forwards Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa, both recently injured.
Hossa is sitting at 499 career goals. He has 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in 64 games this season. Shaw has 34 points (14 goals and 20 assists) in 78 games.
Defenseman David Rundblad has been recalled from the Rockford IceHogs and Bryan Bickell and Dennis Rasmussen have been reassigned to the AHL team. Rundblad, 25, has 25 points in 113 NHL games with Ottawa, Arizona, and Chicago over his career. This year, he has two assists in nine games with the Blackhawks and 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 10 games with the IceHogs.
Bickell, 30, has two assists in 25 games with the Blackhawks this season, but 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 44 games in Rockford. Bickell has been a part of the Hawks’ 2010, 2013, and 2015 Stanley Cup-winning teams and has 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists) in 75 postseason games. Rasmussen, 25, has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 44 games with the Hawks this season and 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) with the IceHogs in 22 games.
Goaltender Corey Crawford will likely start his second game back from injury. In 58 games played, he has a .924 save percentage and a 2.37 goals-against average.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) April 12, 2016
Game 1: Chicago at St. Louis 8:30 p.m. CT Wednesday, April 13, NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports
Game 2: Chicago at St. Louis 7:00 p.m. CT Friday, April 15, NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Game 3: St. Louis at Chicago 2:00 p.m. CT Sunday, April 17, NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Game 4: St. Louis at Chicago 8:30 p.m. CT Tuesday, Aptil 19, NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sportsnet
Game 5: Chicago at St. Louis, Thursday, April 21, if needed, TBA
Game 6: St. Louis at Chicago, Saturday, April 23, if needed, TBA
Game 7: Chicago at St. Louis, Monday, April 25, if needed, TBA
Whoever is on the ice will need to be prepared for another intense matchup with a heated rival in the quest for the greatest trophy in all of sports.
Because it’s the Cup.