There’s no other way for Blackhawks star Patrick Kane to look at it. He’s disappointed and frustrated the Hawks missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, despite his best efforts.
Kane put up career numbers this season, but for what? At the end of the day, it seemed like it was for nothing, he said.
‘‘You look at the big picture, you’d probably be pretty happy with your season, personally,’’ Kane said during the Hawks’ locker clean-out day Sunday at the United Center. ‘‘But it’s kind of frustrating that, really, it doesn’t mean much. I don’t want to say it’s like a year wasted, but I think we all played to be in the playoffs and to be playing our best hockey going into the playoffs.’’
Though Kane turned 30 in November, he continued to improve his game and showed no signs of slowing down. He played as well as, if not better than, he did when he won the Hart Trophy after the 2015-16 season. He scored 44 goals and added a career-high 66 assists for a career-best 110 points. He also had a 20-game point streak.
Sure, Kane is proud of what he accomplished, but he also said he could have played better and accepted partial blame for how the Hawks finished their season.
‘‘I thought I could’ve played better down the stretch for the team in some important times of the season to help us get there,’’ he said.
This was Kane’s most physically demanding season. He finished third among NHL forwards in ice time, averaging just less than 22½ minutes. Despite the increase in playing time, Kane said he didn’t lose steam toward the end of the season.
‘‘I don’t think it was a case of being tired,’’ Kane said. ‘‘I welcome those minutes. I welcome being able to play a lot of minutes and to be in the right shape to do so.’’
As he did after last season, Kane said he plans to use the disappointment as motivation this offseason. And the Hawks are in a better spot now than they were last year at this time.
‘‘Just the way we played the last 50 or so games, [there’s] a lot of confidence in the room, a lot of confidence in the management and coaches about bringing back a solid team next year,’’ said Kane, who is unsure about whether he’ll participate in the world championships this spring. ‘‘I think there’s a lot of hope and belief in the room that we can turn it around.’’