Blackhawks notebook: Unlike Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane leaves talk of future ‘for another day’
Plus, Dominik Kubalik is a healthy scratch against the Kings and goalie Kevin Lankinen looks to get in a rhythm.
LOS ANGELES — Blackhawks star Patrick Kane wasn’t willing to take the bait.
Hours after captain Jonathan Toews opened eyes Wednesday by questioning his future in the Hawks’ rebuild — stating he has envisioned ‘‘what it’d be like to play for another team,’’ although he hasn’t decided yet whether he wants to — his lone remaining Hawks contemporary shied away from addressing the same topic.
‘‘That’s a discussion for another day or over the summer, whatever it is,’’ Kane said. ‘‘I’m happy that I’m here right now. [I’m] just going to try to finish out the season strong.’’
On March 2, Kane said ‘‘it would be a privilege and an honor’’ to be one of the ‘‘guys that play their whole career with one team.’’ But that was before the comprehensiveness of general manager Kyle Davidson’s rebuild became clear.
Indeed, Kane admitted Wednesday — like Toews did — that the Hawks’ trade of wing Brandon Hagel and its implications rattled him.
‘‘It’s tough to lose a guy like Hagel, for sure,’’ Kane said. ‘‘Sometimes you think about it more as [if] you’re losing a really good friend. It’s tough in that sense. It is what it is, and it’s a business. They said they were going to rebuild. It seemed like that was a bit of a shocking move, but [it] seemed like anything was on the table after that.’’
It doesn’t sound as though Kane has allowed his thoughts to drift beyond the day-to-day grind of the season yet, however, saying he’s still ‘‘trying to win’’ and doesn’t ‘‘want to think too far ahead, even to next season.’’
And it’s worth noting that interim coach Derek King downplayed Toews’ comments, too, saying he determined it best to let him be and not mention it.
‘‘He’s going to speak like that; he has every right to,’’ King said. ‘‘He’s won three [Stanley] Cups, and he wants to win another one. All of a sudden, he’s in a rebuild. The guys that maybe you thought would be part of that rebuild get traded. His emotions took over and . . . he wasn’t happy about it. That’s Jonathan, right? But he’s fine.’’
For the first time since his rookie season, wing Dominik Kubalik was a healthy scratch Thursday, with Henrik Borgstrom taking his spot in the lineup against the Kings.
‘‘He has been forcing it, that’s all,’’ King said. ‘‘He’s got to get back to not thinking about the game and just going out and playing. He’s overthinking it big-time.’’
It was surprising not to see Kubalik dealt before the trade deadline, but it might have had to do with his ice-cold play. He has only six points in his last 25 games.
Lankinen eyes rhythm
With Marc-Andre Fleury gone, Kevin Lankinen is expected to start most of the Hawks’ remaining games in goal.
Lankinen got the night off Thursday, with Collin Delia starting against the Kings. Lankinen saved 27 of 29 shots in the Hawks’ 4-2 victory Wednesday against the Ducks, his second consecutive game with a save percentage higher than .930.
He said he expects the flow of steady action during the coming weeks to make a difference.
‘‘I don’t want to make excuses,’’ Lankinen said. ‘‘Every time you go [out] there, whether it’s the next day or two weeks in between, you’ve just got to do your best. But, to be honest, it definitely helps to get some rhythm. Even for the ‘D’ and for the team, to see you out there more regularly . . . that will be a big [help], too.’’