On Monday, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was skating with a heavy heart as he had learned earlier in the day that his grandfather had passed away. In that night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, the soon-to-be Olympian Kane racked up two goals and an assist as the Blackhawks beat the Kings 5-3.
After the Blackhawks won their second game in a row on Wednesday night, head coach Joel Quenneville announced that Kane would not be travelling to Phoenix with the Hawks for their Friday night game against the Phoenix Coyotes:
Kane will head from Buffalo straight to the Sochi Olympics, as he will skate for Team USA in the Games. He will be joined by his mom and his girlfriend on the trip overseas.
With the team carrying 13 forwards, Kane’s absence will cause some shake-ups, but won’t require Sheldon Brookbank or Michael Kostka to slot in at a forward spot. The most likely scenario would be for a guy like Brandon Saad to get bumped up to second line duty along with Michal Handzus and Kris Versteeg, with Brandon Pirri entering the lineup and playing either wing or center (along with Andrew Shaw) on the team’s third line.
The game Friday will be the first Kane has missed since the season finale last year, when the Blackhawks decided to rest most of their starters against the St. Louis Blues. In his career, Kane has only missed 12 total games in seven NHL seasons, with nine of those coming in the 2010-11 campaign.