When Patrick Kane went down on February 24th against Florida, the collective breath of every Chicago Blackhawk fan was held. How serious was the injury? How long would he be out? Would this be a blow to the Chicago Blackhawks’ playoff hopes?
Chicago would soon get the answers to each question. Kane suffered a broken clavicle after being checked by Alex Petrovic in the 1st period. The timetable for his return would be about 6-12 weeks depending on how his bone healed, with 12 weeks being the most likely case.
The answer to the final question? That all depends on who you ask. While the Blackhawks have put up a 10-4 record since Kane went down, the offense has looked pathetic. A lack of puck possession and any resemblance of a power play have, at times, doomed the team.
Now the million dollar question: when will Patrick Kane return?
If you were on Twitter April 1st, you got a big surprise when Tracey Myers from CSN Chicago posted this tweet:
— Tracey Myers (@Tramyers_NHL) April 1, 2015
A series of tweets from the practice sparked quite the conversation on Twitter. Was Kane ahead of schedule? Would he back before the playoffs?
Coach Joel Quenneville came out and said that Kane could be ahead of schedule. Although he was at practice and skating, Kane was still wearing a no-contact jersey, which means he is not cleared for any contact at all. That means he has about two weeks to be cleared and take contact ahead of Chicago’s opening round in the playoffs. Is it possible? Sure. Is it plausible? No.
There have been two cases of a player with a broken clavicle returning early from the injury. In March of 2010, Brian Campbell of the same Chicago Blackhawks, suffered a broken clavicle against the Washington Capitals. Campbell was given a 7-8 week timetable but managed to return by Game 4 of the 1st Round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In the NFL, Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken clavicle in Week 9 during the 2013 season. Given a similar timetable, Rodgers returned in just two months for the Packers’ final game of the season.
While that is all good news, the bad news is there is no way Kane can return before the post-season. As Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune confirmed:
Confirming, #Blackhawks can't activate Patrick Kane from injured list until playoffs due to salary-cap restrictions. No room at the inn.
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) April 2, 2015
So Blackhawk fans, while the sign of Patrick Kane taking shots and skating during practice is promising, what it really means is nothing has really changed. Kane has an outside shot of returning for Round 1, but is more than likely looking at a Round 2 debut if Chicago makes it.
Matthew Bowen has been covering the Chicago Blackhawks for 5+ years. He has covered the team for websites such as ChiCitySports, Bleacher Report and Blackhawksondemand.