While exact details of the injury will remain unknown, as is custom for the infamously tight-lipped Blackhawks, Joel Quenneville said after the game that Kane would be out of action for approximately three weeks. Quenneville intimated that he was unsure whether Chicago’s No. 88 would play in another regular season game at all.
Barring a bizarre setback, this doesn’t directly affect the Blackhawks’ playoff hopes; by all accounts, Kane will be be available for the first game of the postseason even if he does miss the rest of the 82-game schedule. Still, there is the rust factor to take into account; jumping into playoff hockey, notorious for its high intensity, will be no easy task after being out of game action for almost a full month.
We also need to consider the immediate impact of Kane’s absence from the lineup. The Blackhawks are in a dogfight with the Colorado Avalanche for the second seed in the Central Division, and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Missing Kane — the incontrovertible centerpiece of the team’s offense — will make edging Colorado for home ice all the more difficult. While I’ve stated that I don’t think this will necessarily matter in a series between the Blackhawks and Avalanche, plenty would disagree with that assertion.
Whatever the case, the Blackhawks will need to find a fresh source of offense if they are to keep pace with the rest of the West while Kane recovers.