The Chicago Blackhawks have played some of their best hockey of the season in recent weeks, but as they prepare for the playoffs, all eyes are on Patrick Kane’s recovery from a broken clavicle.
On Sunday morning, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville discussed the possibility of Kane playing in the first round of the postseason, which begins on April 15. While he didn’t rule out the chance entirely, he didn’t sound tremendously optimistic either.
“Tough to say,” he told ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers. “I think in the end it’s the same thing we’ve been saying -- clearance is the hurdle. From that, kind of gives us an idea when you can ratchet up the physicality of it to get it to the test. That’s what we’re up against. That’s where we’re at.”
Kane’s original timetable for a return had him coming back in May, likely after a second-round series for the Blackhawks. There have been questions recently as to whether or not that would be moved up, as Kane has been skating with the team and looking really good while doing it. He has yet to take contact in a practice, wearing a white non-contact jersey when he hits the ice, but his conditioning is clearly at a high level based on reports.
The Blackhawks have gone 12-4-1 in the 17 games that Kane has missed so far, but their offense has struggled at times during that span. Kane was their leading scorer at the time of his injury, with Jonathan Toews only recently passing him for that title among Blackhawks players.