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Blackhawks Remain Stanley Cup Favorites Despite Patrick Kane Injury
Tuesday night was a devastating evening for the city of Chicago and their two winter sports teams, both of whom had championship aspirations. First, Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, who was leading the NHL in points, left the Hawks' game against Florida with what turned out to be a major injury. Then not long after came word that Bulls star Derrick Rose had torn the meniscus in his right knee and likely miss the rest of the season.
Biggest NHL Injury Of Season
We'll stick with Kane in this story, and he's expected to miss 12 weeks -- despite that, Bovada still lists Chicago as the 7/1 Stanley Cup favorite. I expect that to change soon.
"The Patrick Kane injury hasn't had a major impact initially on the Blackhawks odds to win the Stanley Cup," said Bovada sportsbook manager Kevin Bradley. "The odds moved from 5/1 to 7/1, and until we see a few games, they remain the favorites but not by much. Nashville is right behind them at 8/1, the only other team in singles digits."
Kane fell awkwardly into the boards after being cross-checked from behind by Florida’s Alex Petrovic in the first period. The league’s department of player safety looked at the hit, but Petrovic will face no supplemental discipline. Kane was diagnosed with a broken left clavicle and had surgery on Wednesday. The Hawks' team physician said he anticipated a full recovery in 12 weeks. The playoffs begin in seven weeks. If the predicted recovery time is accurate, Kane would be ready to play around the conference finals if Chicago gets there.
Hawks May Need Wild-Card Spot
Kane enters Wednesday tied for the NHL lead with 64 points and leads the Blackhawks with 27 goals and 37 assists. He had not missed a game this season. The Blackhawks are third in the Central Division with a 36-20-5 record and 77 points. They trail the Predators by 12 points and the Blues by three points, and they are ahead of the Winnipeg Jets by four points. Now the Hawks could be looking at a wild-card spot and opening the playoffs against the Predators, the team with the most points in the NHL. The Blackhawks were without Kane for the final 12 regular-season games last season because of a knee injury. He was back for the start of the playoffs and Chicago lost in seven games in the West Finals.
Kane was attempting to become the first American to win the scoring title ever and the first Blackhawks player to win the Hart Trophy as the league MVP since Stan Mikita in 1968. That's obviously gone now. The team placed him on long-term injured reserve on Wednesday. That's important for trade purposes. Kane's salary-cap hit this year is $6.3 million but the Hawks now get that additional room with him out the rest of the regular season. Teams can exceed the salary cap in the playoffs, so if GM Stan Bowman uses that space at the March 2 trade deadline and Kane returns in the postseason, the Hawks are in the clear. Arizona’s Antoine Vermette is considered a potential trade option.
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