Funeral will keep Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane from playing Coyotes
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter February 5, 2014 11:09PM
Updated: February 6, 2014 12:29AM
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Patrick Kane was on the ice for 16 minutes, 18 seconds in a 2-0 victory Wednesday by the Blackhawks against the Anaheim Ducks. But Kane will miss the game Friday night against the Phoenix Coyotes to attend his grandfather’s funeral, which will be held that morning in Buffalo, N.Y.
Donald Kane, 87, died Monday in Buffalo. Coach Joel Quenneville said Kane was to leave for Buffalo later Wednesday night.
Kane has missed 12 games in his seven-year career. He has played in 269 of the last 270 games, missing only the regular-season finale last year when Quenneville rested him before the playoffs. Kane was told of his grandfather’s death just before the Hawks played the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Monday. He had two goals and an assist in a 5-3 victory.
‘‘He was one of my great friends growing up,’’ a tearful Kane said after that game. ‘‘He lived next door to me my whole childhood. . . . He came to a lot of my hockey games. But I think he was more worried about grades and [me] being a good kid. It was a tough day for sure.’’
Rest vs. rust
The Blackhawks have 10 players participating in the Sochi Olympics. The rest of the team will have 20 days between games. After playing at Phoenix on Friday night, the Hawks don’t play again until Feb. 27 against the Rangers in New York.
‘‘I don’t think we’ve ever visited this extended time away,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘I’m going to have to rely on the trust that these guys are going to be ready, rested. The rusty part — hopefully if they are [rusty], we’ll have enough time to get it off them. But I expect these guys to be fresh when you come out of the Olympic break.’’
Backup goaltender Antti Raanta is particularly vulnerable to the layoff. He has started just four games since Jan. 1 and finished three of them.
Quenneville said he’s counting on Raanta to keep himself sharp. There isn’t much else he can do, officially.
‘‘It’s a good question,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘He works hard. I expect him to keep busy and come right back fresh and energized.’’
Jonathan Toews came into Wednesday night’s game in a faceoff slump: 17-31 (35.4 percent). It’s statistically the worst stretch of his career. His 20.8 percentage (5-16) against the Kings was his lowest in a full game in the last five seasons. Toews was 10th in the NHL in faceoff percentage (55.8). He was second last season (59.9).
He bounced back with a 55-percent effort (11-for-20) against the Ducks.
‘‘He had a real tough night the one night it was very noticeable,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘But Jonny gives you a chance on those ones that aren’t in our favor.’’