COLUMBUS, Ohio — While most of his teammates were in Columbus preparing for Friday night’s game, Patrick Kane was back in Chicago, preparing for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Kane skated Friday for the first time since suffering an apparent knee injury on March 19 against the St. Louis Blues.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said the report from Chicago following the session was “very positive.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Toews, who suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury Sunday night in Pittsburgh, isn’t skating but is “doing everything he can right now,” Quenneville said. “He’s getting himself ready.”
Kane and Toews are expected back for the start of the playoffs.
The Hawks were criticized by many in the hockey world for not retaliating last Sunday for the hit by Brooks Orpik that injured Toews. In the two games since, they have responded in a hurry to hits they didn’t like.
Friday night against the Blue Jackets, Bryan Bickell pounced on Jared Boll after Boll laid out Peter Regin in the neutral zone. Boll got the better of the fight, but Patrick Sharp scored on the ensuing power play (Boll was whistled for interference on the Regin hit).
Thursday against the Wild, Bickell and Jeremy Morin briefly went after Matt Cooke when Cooke drilled Andrew Shaw.
Sharp’s goal was just the Hawks’ sixth on the power play in their last 14 games. His big blast from the point made it through a screen by Shaw and past goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. With two new five-man units in the wake of the Kane and Toews injuries, it was the kind of simple play Quenneville wanted to see.
“When you don’t have the guys you’re accustomed to having, let’s get it back to the point, let’s try to get second opportunities off point shots, and improvise off that,” he said. “Simpler is the best way to go about it.”
Neither Johnny Oduya (lower-body injury) nor Michal Handzus made the trip to Columbus. Quenneville said both could play Sunday against the Blues.
Quenneville, who sat Handzus for the third period in Pittsburgh, then scratched him the last two games, said the 37-year-old is being rested. Sheldon Brookbank again played alongside Niklas Hjalmarsson on the Hawks’ second pairing. He played a whopping 25 minutes on Thursday, and 20 more on Friday.
“He’s a steady guy,” Quenneville said. “Him and [Hjalmarsson] looked like they were comfortable together [on Thursday]. Saw the top line a lot. Just simple, get in and out, keep a nice gap and keep the play ahead of you. We liked what he did.”
Michal Rozsival returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a lower-body injury. Teuvo Teravainen was a healthy scratch for the second game in a row.