Hawks' Kane grew into role

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

CHICAGO - Patrick Kane wishes he knew then what he knows now.

And that’s saying something for a player who had 72 points and won the Calder Trophy as a rookie.

But as he begins his fifth season in the NHL, he shakes his head at how little he knew about the pro game when he first came out of Junior.

“I feel I have the puck a lot more on my stick, I feel I can control the game a little more, I’m better in both ends, more understanding of how the game is played at this level,” said the soon-to-be 23-year-old. “ It’s a different game, it takes a little while to get adjusted to.”

Even when it looks — as it does for Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle — like you’ve got it pretty much figured out.

It’s not like Kane is staring into a time machine when he looks over at the next generation of Edmonton Oilers, but he does see a lot of himself in the kids.

“For those guys, they’re young, they get a lot of experience playing a lot of minutes and they’re great exciting players so why not build your team around them and give them a lot of minutes,” he said, adding if they’re this good now, they’re going to be out of this world in four years.

“As time goes on you start developing a lot of different parts to your game to be a better all around player, which I feel I’ve done the past couple of seasons.

“Now you’re at the point where you want to take the next step to the next level.”

Stops and starts

If it seems like forever ago that Ray Emery took the Ottawa Senators to a Stanley Cup final, imagine how it feels to him.

Since that 2007 Cup run he’s been bought out by the Senators, wound up playing in Russia and needed a bone graft and a year of rehab to fix a hip problem.

Now, four games into his latest comeback.

“So far so good,” said Emery, who’s 3-1 since coming to Chicago as a training camp walk on. “I’m happy to have a place to play and it’s a bonus to have a really good team. I realize it’s a smaller role here, but if you go deep in the playoffs everybody is important and even the smallest things help.

“Maybe for me that’s playing an extra few games during the year so Crow (Corey Crawford) is fresh in the playoffs.”

The ultimate goal is get back to where he once was, and at 29 years old, he looks at Tim Thomas and Nikolai Khabibulin and realizes it’s not too late.

“That’s exciting,” he said. “I really want to take care of my body and have an opportunity to play when I’m older like those guys.”

Crazy for offence

Daniel Carcillo can seem like a bit of a maniac at times, with the wild hair and hair trigger, but do manics play on the second line of a Cup contender with Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp?

This one does.

“I knew how to play hockey before I knew how to fight,” said the 26-year-old left winger. “But you do whatever you can to get into the league and then sometimes it takes a couple of years, or just the right organization and the right fit, to really show what you can do. It’s nice, it’s refreshing to get a chance to play, and to play with good players.”

Head coach Joel Quenneville says something his previous coaches didn’t and its paid off with seven points in 13 games, one more point than Carcillo had all last season in Philadelphia.

“That line has been very effective because he gives it something different, not just skill,” said Quenneville. “He gives us an element that he can play hard and physical and offensively he’s got some upside with his game.”

Quenneville also thinks being given a bigger role forces Carcillo to rein in the dumb stuff.

“His leash with the referees is very tight. No matter where he is on the ice, he has to make sure he’s thinking before he acts.”

Eager to be here

Ben Eager has a Stanley Cup ring and some lifelong memories to show for Chicago, so he was glad to be back, even as an Oiler.

“A lot of great memories here and great people I played with, the organization is great,” he said. “The Cup run is something I’ll never forget and I don’t think anyone will.”

Not that he didn’t mind bowling over a few of his former buddies.

“That’s the way it goes. I’ve been traded a few times so pretty much every night there’s someone I was friends with on another team. You just have to play your game and put your friendships aside for a night.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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