UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Patrick Kane’sgetting everything he wants lately. He is on his hottest streak of the season and came up big again Wednesday, when the NHL announced its All-Star Game rosters.
He’s headed to the league’s midseason showcase for the fifth straight season and eighth time of a possible nine games in his 12-year career.
“He’s been dynamite, really all year,” general manager Stan Bowman said this week. “He just keeps pushing it and … he seems to add a new dimension to his game year after year. I guess that’s what makes him such a special player.
“You look around the league and you look at the elite players, they seem to find a way to kind of take their game up a level. And as great as they are, they come back the next year and they add a new wrinkle to their game.”
Kane was the only Hawks player selected, but Jonathan Toews still has a shot.
The league implemented a new element this year by allowing fans to elect the Last Men In. Each team gets one player on the ballot for an internet vote that runs from 11 a.m. Thursday through Jan. 10. Toews has to beat out six players to make the Central roster.
Kane, meanwhile, was a lock. Despite the Hawks’ struggles, he is putting together another terrific season and leads them in goals (22), assists (28) and points (50). He is tied for eighth in the league in total scoring, fourth among Central Division players.
He has six goals and four assists in his last 10 games, setting him up to chase the second 100-point season of his career as the Hawks head into Thursday’s game at the Islanders.
Kane’s finding a groove after a relatively quiet stretch when coach Jeremy Colliton came aboard. Now that he is rolling again, Colliton believes it’s just the start.
“Well, he’s pretty good, but I think he can do more,” he said. “I think he thinks he can do more, too. We shouldn’t be satisfied.
“I think he’s got more to give, which is exciting. You see how many plays he makes out there, and he can make even more. His line can play with the puck more and be in the offensive zone and execute and be cleaner, so looking forward to that.”
Toews was thought to have a strong shot in the initial selection phase, but missed out for the second year in a row after making it every possible time from 2009-17 (the league didn’t have a game in 2010, ’13 and ’14 because of a lockout and players participating in the Olympics). He is eighth in the Central in points (36), 10th in goals (16) and 16th in assists (20).
He failed to crack 60 points the last three seasons, but is making a modest resurgence and rejects the perception that he is in decline offensively.
“I want to keep it going,” he said last month. “I feel like I can keep scoring at an even better rate than I have the last couple years … I’m learning every day and getting better, I feel good physically and mentally and I’m learning a lot from the young guys.”
If he polls well, Toews will join Kane and the league’s biggest stars Jan. 26 at San Jose’s SAP Center.
This is the NHL’s fourth year using divisions for the All-Star Game, and each team gets eight skaters (five or six forwards) and two goaltenders. Winnipeg, Nashville and Colorado — the top three teams in the Central — each landed two players on the roster. They play a three-on-three, single-elimination tournament.
Fans voted for the four captains, and the league office filled the remaining spots.
Aside from Kane, the Hawks will have a nine-day break after their Jan. 22 home game against the Islanders. They resume play Feb. 1 at Buffalo.
Here are the rosters for each of the four teams:
F Nathan MacKinnon, COL – captain
F Patrick Kane, CHI
F Ryan O’Reilly, STL
F Mikko Rantanen, COL
F Mark Scheifele, WPG
F Blake Wheeler, WPG
D Miro Heiskanen, DAL
D Roman Josi, NSH
G Devan Dubnyk, MIN
G Pekka Rinne, NSH
F Connor McDavid, EDM – captain
F Johnny Gaudreau, CGY
F Clayton Keller, ARI
F Joe Pavelski, SJS
F Elias Pettersson, VAN
D Brent Burns, SJS
D Drew Doughty, LAK
D Erik Karlsson, SJS
G Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK
G John Gibson, ANA
F Alex Ovechkin, WSH – captain*
F Sebastian Aho, CAR
F Cam Atkinson, CBJ
F Matthew Barzal, NYI
F Sidney Crosby, PIT
F Claude Giroux, PHI
F Taylor Hall, NJD
D John Carlson, WSH
D Seth Jones, CBJ
G Braden Holtby, WSH
G Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
F Auston Matthews, TOR – captain
F Jack Eichel, BUF
F Nikita Kucherov, TBL
F David Pastrnak, BOS
F Steven Stamkos, TBL
F John Tavares, TOR
D Thomas Chabot, OTT
D Keith Yandle, FLA
G Jimmy Howard, DET
G Carey Price, MTL
* – Washington’s Alex Ovechkin vacated his spot as captain. The NHL penalty for doing so is a one-game suspension.