Marko Dano, Artemi Panarin start strong in Blackhawks camp

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — As long as Patrick Kane’s involvement in a police investigation in Western New York continues, he will be watched closely. Even on quiet camp days such as Saturday, when the biggest news about Kane was that apparel with his name was displayed at a temporary team store after being out of sight Friday, Kane’s actions will be observed and analyzed.

But that doesn’t mean he’s the only story in Blackhawks training camp at Notre Dame. Another is the performance of young forwards Marko Dano and Artemi Panarin, who have given reasons to think they could fill holes in a lineup depleted by a salary-cap purge.

Dano, acquired with Artem Anisimov in the trade that sent Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets, has played left wing on a line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. On Friday, coach Joel Quenneville called that left-wing spot the “lottery spot.” On Saturday, Dano continued to show he might be able to cash in.

He’ll have to play solid two-way hockey, adjust to playing on the left and take advantage of the scoring chances he’ll get while learning from two of the most respected players in the NHL.

So far, so good.

“We’re feeling more comfortable with every practice and trying to get the chemistry going on in the scrimmage games with Tazer and Hoss, so it’s been fun,” Dano said. “We’re working hard, so it’s a good two days.”

Hossa said Friday that he believes the 20-year-old Dano has lots of potential, is strong on his skates and isn’t afraid to get to the front of the net for good scoring opportunities.

“It’s just up to him how he plays in training camp,” Hossa said. “But I’ve got a good feeling that he’s going to be really good.”

Panarin, a left wing, also is giving off that vibe, and his game might draw some comparisons to Kane’s.

But Panarin doesn’t buy that.

“There’s no way for [me] to compare to Kane,” Panarin, 23, said via Viktor Tikhonov’s translation. “For [me] and Kane, it’s like to get to Russia by walking.”

Playing on a line with Teuvo Teravainen and Tikhonov, Panarin has looked comfortable. Tikhonov has helped him communicate with his teammates.

“We’ve got a couple guys that are Russian that can get him comfortable with the language and had a couple talks with the guys, knowing that whenever you’re not sure or you don’t understand, let’s make sure we get it right,” Quenneville said. “He says give me a month, he’ll be fine.”

It appears that Panarin and Teravainen are fluent in the same style of hockey. They play at a similar pace and with comparable awareness. Teravainen has been impressed with Panarin, who signed a two-year deal in April after leaving St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL.

“I knew he was a good player, and he can really help this team,” Teravainen said.

If Panarin and Dano can do that, it would be a positive for a team with spots to fill.

“You need change with us losing some key guys,” Quenneville said. “We need guys that can come in and help and be a part of it, and hopefully there’s some progression in their game.”

NOTE: The Hawks announced that defenseman Michal Rozsival signed a one-year contract. Rozsival, who was in camp on a professional tryout, hasn’t practiced as he continues to recover from the broken left ankle he suffered in the second round of the playoffs.

Follow me on Twitter @BrianSandalow.

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