Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two
Updated: June 6, 2013 7:20AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Patrick Kane got the puck in the slot and tried to get off a quick shot, only to have his stick lifted by a Wild defenseman. With four Minnesota players zeroing in on him, and goalie Josh Harding focused on him, Kane quickly spun to his right and fired a pass to Patrick Sharp, left all alone in the corner. The “easy” goal all but sealed the Blackhawks’ Game 2 victory, and was quintessential Kane.
“He loves making that pass,” Sharp said.
He didn’t always, though. Kane said that when he was a kid, 11 or 12, he rarely passed the puck, instead preferring to take the puck down the ice and trying to finish it off himself.
“I finally ran into a coach that said ‘you’re going to have to pass the puck or you’re going to sit on the bench,’ ’’ Kane said. “I remember I went down the full length of the ice, scored a goal, and I sat on the bench for the rest of the period. From that moment on, I just tried to improve my vision and my passing ability, and that’s probably where it came from. A lot of practice, too.”
Kane’s playmaking ability has always been otherworldly, but it’s reached new levels this season — from his seeing-eye passes to his spin-o-rama goal in Detroit to his incredible stick-handling in shootouts.
“He’s got the hands to stick-handle his way out of a phone booth,” Bryan Bickell said. “He pulls things I can only dream about in games. I try to do them in practice, but usually I just embarrass myself.”
Ugly goals are nice, and usually necessary against the Wild. But the fancy ones are more fun for the players.
“As players, you always want to show your skill and your ability to create,” Kane said. “I think that’s what the fans like, they like pretty plays like that. Sometimes it’s nice to do those things.”
Dave Bolland (groin) and Ray Emery (lower-body) were both ruled out for Game 3
by coach Joel Quenneville, though they did make the trip to Minnesota.
Jason Pominville (concussion) and Clayton Stoner didn’t practice for the Wild. Goalie Niklas Backstrom practiced again for the Wild and looked “good” according to coach Mike Yeo. His status will be a game-time decision.