Patrick Kane adjusting to knee brace for playoffs
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter April 17, 2014 10:26PM
Updated: April 18, 2014 12:27AM
ST. LOUIS — The brace is on Patrick Kane’s knee, but it’s not in his head.
“I don’t feel limited,” the Blackhawks winger said after the morning skate Thursday. “I feel like the same player. Once you kind of get into skating with the puck and game situations like we’ve done in practices here, it’s kind of the last thing on my mind. When you’re out there playing and skating around, it’s not like I’m thinking, ‘How does my brace feel?’ ”
Kane — who was injured when St. Louis’ Brenden Morrow fell on his left leg March 19 at the United Center — has done everything he can to get used to the brace. He has skated “probably eight or nine times” with it. He asked several other Hawks who wear knee braces for advice on how to play with one.
He even slept with it a few nights.
“That’s the thing you want to do when you have a knee brace, is get used to it and make it part of your element,” Bryan Bickell said. “It kind of sucks the first time, but you get used to it.”
Bickell started wearing a brace on his right knee when he was hurt in the Western Conference finals last season. Then he added one to his left knee when he was hurt early this season. He struggled to come back from the latest one and said adapting to the brace was a factor.
“Maybe a couple of weeks,” he said. “It’s probably like a new pair of skates.”
Kane, of course, plays a different kind of game than Bickell. Kane’s game is based on speed and agility, which allow him to not only create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates, but to avoid contact — a particularly useful skill against the bruising Blues.
Kane doesn’t know how long he’ll have to wear the brace or even if he’ll have to wear it next season and beyond. But he’s not terribly concerned about it.
“Once you get used to it, you’re fine,” Kane said. “It’s something a lot of guys have to deal with. It’s just my first time dealing with it. You kind of learn as you go along.”