Wishing We Were There for Kane, How Long Can He Keep This Up? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Wishing We Were There for Kane, How Long Can He Keep This Up? And Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Tonight, Patrick Kane will play his 1,000th career regular season game with the Chicago Blackhawks. He’ll do it in Dallas against the Stars in front of a partial crowd at the American Airlines Center. Not really the fitting celebration we expected to have for Kane’s career milestone. But it will be special nonetheless to watch Kane skate in his 1,000th game in the Red and Black.

•   It will be disappointing to see the Stars fans, and hopefully some sporadic Blackhawks fans in attendance, give Kane the ovation for game No. 1,000 that should have been given to him in front of 22,000 fans at the United Center.

•   Kane posted a video of himself thanking fans this morning, saying that once we are able to have full stadiums again, that we’ll have a proper celebration of his milestone.

•   As you might expect, Kane was having a bit of trouble falling asleep last night. So much excitement for a game that is such a high honor and milestone for any NHL player. Kane took to Twitter, which was odd since he almost never uses social media, and was looking to see if anyone else was having trouble catching Z’s.

•   Seems harmless enough, probably setting up what would be a really cool “Ask Me Anything” session or something right? Ha, not even close. Kane then posted a video, a guided meditation narrated by himself, counting from 1 to 1,000 to help him and everyone else having trouble getting to sleep, drift off into a relaxing slumber.

•   It is one of most amazing pieces of content the Blackhawks and Kane have produced in a very, very long time. I will now be singing Kane’s version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” from now on and no other versions will be recognized.

•   It’s an incredibly creative piece of work from the team and Kane, really. A unique way to showcase the usually (recently) subdued personality of the Blackhawks star off the ice.

•   The congratulations have been coming in from athletes and fans from across the hockey world for Kane. Some coming from the Chicago sports landscape too, including former Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster.

•   Kane reaching 1,000 games makes him the 350th NHL player to do so and the seventh in Blackhawks history to play 1,000 games with Chicago. He joins Bob Murray (1,008), Eric Nesterenko (1,013), Bobby Hull (1,036), Brent Seabrook (1,114), Duncan Keith (1,164*), and Stan Mikita (1,396).

*Keith will reach 1,165 with tonight’s game.

•   Having one of his best season’s of his career based on production pace, Kane is right in the middle of the Hart Trophy discussion this season as NHL MVP. He ranks second in points (38), only trailing Connor McDavid. Kane leads the league in even-strength points (26) this season and is playing the third-most minutes per game (22:15) of all NHL forwards, only behind Mitch Marner and Connor McDavid.

•   At 32-years-old, Kane seems to be rejuvenated in his career, which is a problem for the rest of the league. We could be seeing a player already playing his 14th season in the NHL, just now reaching his peak of his career. So the question becomes, how long can he keep this up?

•   Well that would be an unbreakable NHL record if he did.

•   Good news outside of Kane playing his 1,000th game came yesterday for the Blackhawks with Kirby Dach, Dylan Strome, and Calvin de Haan all participating in the optional skate prior to the team traveling to Dallas. Most notably was Kirby Dach getting on the ice with the team for the first time this season.

•   After suffering a broken wrist prior to the World Junior Championships, Dach was given a four-to-five month timeframe for recovery. It’s encouraging to see him out and stickhandling basically two and a half months after successful surgery. His four-month timeframe after wrist surgery would be April 28.

•   Dach will travel with the Blackhawks on their upcoming 12-day roadtrip to continue skating with the team, but president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman said that Dach is still not close to being ready to join the team.

•   The focus should not be on rushing Dach back before he is fully ready to go. But with the Blackhawks squarely in the middle of a playoff push at the mid-way point of the season, getting Dach back into the lineup is a pretty intriguing piece of the 2021 season’s puzzle.

•   A Happy Birthday to a pair of former Blackhawks as Bryan Bickell turns 35 and Phil Housley turns 57!

•   We are reaching a milestone as a sports and hockey community in a few days. One year ago on March 11, the Blackhawks and the NHL played their last games of the pre-COVID era of the sports world. Thinking back to that time, it was such a surreal existence and we had no idea what was to come. We’ll talk about it more this week, but it’s been a trip and a half over the last 365 days.

•   ESPN’s Emily Kaplan wrote an incredible story about how NHL players have handled the pandemic and playing in such different conditions than they have been used to all of their lives. She dives into how the mental health of the players has been affected by the “new normal” of sports. Check it out, it’s worth your time.

•   A reminder to wear a mask, avoid crowds, and get the vaccine as soon as you can. We’ll get back to normal soon, folks.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.