Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane likely to keep racking up loads of ice time
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PHILADELPHIA — A big topic heading into the Blackhawks’ 4-0 defeat here Saturday: Just how extensively is new coach Jeremy Colliton going to use Patrick Kane?
Kane logged 27 minutes, 43 seconds of ice time Thursday in a 4-3 loss to the Hurricanes in Colliton’s debut. That was the second-highest regular-season total of the 12th-year winger’s career. Against the Flyers, Kane followed up with 24:33 of ice time — his second-most in a regular-season non-overtime game since last January.
Kane double-shifted on the power play in both games, not that it helped against the Flyers and their struggling penalty-kill unit, which came into the weekend ranked 30th in the league. The Hawks took the collar in four man-advantage opportunities.
Expect Colliton to keep running Kane — who came in tied with Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in goals, with 12 — out there as long as the superstar can handle it.
“If he’s fresh, yeah, why wouldn’t we?” Colliton said. “He can do special things with the puck. It’s our job to put him in a position to get the most out of him. As long as he’s feeling good and [we] feel like he looks like he’s fresh, then he’ll be getting a lot of minutes.”
The Hawks and Flyers wore “29” on their helmets in honor of late goalie Ray Emery, who died in a swimming accident last summer. Emery’s image was displayed on the scoreboard over center ice during a touching video tribute.
Emery played the last four seasons — two each — of his NHL career in Chicago (2011-12 and 2012-13) and Philadelphia (2013-14 and 2014-15). That includes a memorable second campaign with the Hawks, when he was 17-1 with a 1.94 ERA.
Saad an injury scratch
The Hawks were without Marcus Kruger (left leg injury) and, in a surprise, Brandon Saad (right arm injury). Saad was hurt during Friday’s practice in Chicago. The Hawks didn’t announce that he was out of the lineup until shortly before the start of the game.
According to Colliton, Saad could be back in the lineup Monday against the Hurricanes.
Go for Ward?
Colliton wouldn’t say if Corey Crawford or Cam Ward will be in goal against the Hurricanes, though it seems a natural time to give the latter a chance. It’s a homecoming for Ward, who spent 13 seasons in Raleigh, North Carolina, before signing with the Hawks.
Ward hasn’t played since giving up four goals in a Nov. 1 loss at Edmonton.