Rose is impossible to replace
Derrick Rose. That's the answer.
Patrick Kane is inarguably having a better season than his fellow Trump Chicago resident.
But Rose's injury has the potential to be way more devastating -- emotionally, spiritually and logistically.
Neither injury happened in a vacuum. One must take into account Kane's two Stanley Cups and Rose's two knee injuries. Kane, who suffered a broken clavicle, just has to let his bones heal these next three months.
Rose has to worry about his unforgiving knees for the rest of his career. And even if he's back this season, he'll have to trust something that's untrustworthy. And oh yeah, he's got to be able to burst into the lane, stop, jump and shoot.
Then there's the reality of each sport.
Hockey is designed to meld individuals into the group. While Kane is spectacular and unique, he's not the only forward with chops. The Blackhawks can win without him and can quickly bring him back into the fold come playoff time.
Rose is singular and impossible to replace. He's also someone who needs a rhythm to be near his best. That's why he needed regular, substantial minutes.
Regardless of his shooting percentages, up until now, Rose's comeback season was a success, simply because he played nearly every game in the last three months. This injury, while less serious than we initially thought in the fog of late-night Twitter on Tuesday, puts a monkey wrench in the rehab.
Rose could return earlier than Kane if this medial meniscus tear in his right knee needs a less laborious rehab than his previous one. That's the thinking.
But this isn't hockey, where playoff seeding is like a suggestion. Seeds and home-court advantage are really important in the NBA.
Even if Rose misses only four to six weeks, the Bulls will still have to live without him for about a minimum of 15 games.
Then, he'll have less than 10 games to get in shape for the postseason, albeit with a likely minutes restriction.
This is where it gets tricky, because while the Bulls can't control their potential playoff opponents, they don't want to face Cleveland in the first or second round. And even though Washington is imploding, the Bulls don't really want to face the Wizards in the first round, either.
There's no point stressing about those quotidian worries. If Rose can make it back at all this season, it's a relief.
Kane's been clutch in the playoffs
The Blackhawks wouldn't have won the 2013 Stanley Cup without him. He tallied nine goals and 19 points in 23 games.
The Blackhawks wouldn't have been a goal away from returning to the Stanley Cup again last season if it wasn't for Kane. He had eight goals and 20 points in 19 games.
Given all that Kane has meant to the Blackhawks' playoff success, it's hard to imagine them duplicating it without him. And that's exactly what the Hawks are being asked to do as Kane's clavicle-injury timetable won't bring him back until likely the Western Conference finals. It means the Blackhawks will have to get past the likes of the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators without their star offensive player.
Kane obviously isn't the only reason the Blackhawks have won big in recent years. Their depth is matched by only a few teams throughout the NHL. You go down the line -- Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Corey Crawford, Niklas Hjalmarsson, etc. -- and they have some of the league's premier players at every position. There's no doubt they're a playoff team without Kane and will win games.
It's also not that Kane means much more to the Blackhawks than, say, Toews or Keith. The Blackhawks would be in trouble without many of their stars.
What makes filling Kane's void so difficult is what he provides in the playoffs. He's thrived in that setting. He is clutch like no other player on the Blackhawks' roster.
It was Kane who scored a hat trick to eliminate the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference quarterfinals in 2009. It was Kane who scored the Stanley Cup-clinching overtime goal to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010. It was Kane who scored a hat trick to eliminate the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals in 2013. It was Kane who scored four game-winning goals in the playoffs last season and had nine points over the final three games of the Western Conference finals to give the Blackhawks a chance against the Kings.
Also, throw in the fact that Kane was on pace to have a career season before getting hurt. He was tied for a league-leading 64 points and had plenty of people talking about his chances of becoming the first American to lead the NHL in points. Amidst a season of ups and downs for the Blackhawks, Kane was the one constant.
The Blackhawks will undoubtedly make a move or two prior to Monday's trade deadline. It's the one benefit of when Kane's injury occurred. Regardless of whom Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman brings in, it's going to take a special effort for the Blackhawks to make a run at another Stanley Cup without No. 88.