Patrick Kane still pleased with his play
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter February 26, 2014 8:48PM
Updated: February 26, 2014 10:43PM
Maybe Patrick Kane was supposed to return to the United States in a funk after his Olympic disappointment. But there was no analyst’s couch in front of his locker when he returned to practice Wednesday, and none was needed.
Kane had all of Chicago feeling sorry for him after he went scoreless in six games for Team USA and failed to score on two penalty shots in the 5-0 loss to Finland in the bronze-medal game.
But he’s still Patrick Kane. And, if anything, he’s due. He had plenty of opportunities in the Games but couldn’t finish. And Kane rarely fails to finish for very long.
‘‘I feel good,’’ Kane said after his first practice with the Blackhawks since returning from Sochi, Russia. ‘‘The Olympics . . . obviously were a little bit of a struggle. But I still feel like I played decent and had enough chances to put up some good numbers. It just didn’t happen that way.
‘‘I’m actually — if you can believe it — excited about where my game is and where I can improve and get better. But it was fun getting back here, skating with all the guys you’re used to playing with.
‘‘Sometimes you go over to Russia, and it could be a benefit because you realize how good you have it over here — how exciting it is to come to the rink every day with good teammates and good coaches and, most important, a good team. It was fun being back.’’
The Hawks, who had 10 players participate in the Olympics, were nearly at full strength for practice. Patrick Sharp, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger also returned to practice. Jonathan Toews was present but did not skate. Duncan Keith met the team at the airport later before the flight to New York, where the Hawks will face the Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Toews did not seem to have a problem readjusting to being home.
‘‘Not too bad,’’ he said. ‘‘I probably needed just a couple of days — just waking up a little earlier than I’d like to the last few days.
‘‘I want to get back into my routine and play as good as I can right away — maybe use the confidence that I built playing in what felt like a real pressure situation at the Olympics for Canada, try to use that momentum. I felt great as the tournament went along. I’ll try to carry that into the [regular season].’’
NOTE: The Hawks re-acquired minor-league defenseman Brian Connelly from the Wild for 32-year-old minor-league forward Brad Winchester. Connelly, 27, will report to Rockford, for whom he played from 2009 to ’12. The Hawks traded Connelly to the Flames for Brendan Morrison in 2012.