Patrick Kane: 'Got to be patient'

CHICAGO -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is in a better place than he was a week and a half ago.

Kane had a "rough" couple of days after fracturing his clavicle Feb. 24 and discovering his season could be over unless the Blackhawks advance a few playoff rounds without him. He used some love and care from his mother and girlfriend and the entertainment of two seasons of "Homeland" to get through it all.

Speaking Sunday for the first time since his injury, Kane declared himself in better spirits. He expressed optimism for his recovery and that his teammates would get far enough to give him a chance to play again this season.

"I think I've kind of moved on from it now, but at the same time it was definitely a tough couple of days after you hear the news of the injury and the extent of how long you'll be out," Kane said. "Especially when you're in the groove of playing games and looking forward to finishing the season strong and get into the playoffs, it definitely hurts. I'll try to do the best I can to get as ready as I can for playoffs and be ready to go when I come back.

"I think we're still a little bit of time left in the season here. Once we get to playoffs, we'll see what happens. I'll worry about what I have to worry about, and I'm sure the team will be fine."

Kane underwent surgery Feb. 25 and was put on a 12-week timetable to return. He said Sunday he was still on that trajectory. He has been rehabbing and actively working out his lower body.

"I wish I could play tonight," Kane said. "That'd be awesome. But it's one of those things, you've got to be patient with it. You've got to listen to the doctors and make sure you're not putting yourself in a position to reinjure it and make it even worse down the line. Do whatever you can to get it as healthy as possible and make sure the bone's healed before I completely come back."

Kane was on pace to have a career season and had a chance to become the first American-born player to lead the NHL in points. He was tied for the league lead when he went down. He has 27 goals and 37 assists in 61 games.

To add to Kane's frustration, it's the second consecutive season he will miss the final weeks of the regular season. He sat out the final 12 regular-season games last season due to a knee injury.

"It's pretty unfortunate and don't want to make a habit of it, especially the last few years where it's happened around this time," Kane said. "Where last year I think I missed the last 12 games of the season due to my knee injury and then I was coming back for playoffs. And then this year, missing the last whatever it is, 20-plus games of the season, it's something you don't want to get into the habit of. Next year coming back, my main goal will be to play a full 82."

One advantage the Blackhawks had with Kane's injury was that it came right before the trade deadline. By placing Kane on the long-term injured reserve, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was able to use Kane's cap hit on other players. Bowman traded for forward Antoine Vermette and defenseman Kimmo Timonen.

"You can look back at the end of the year, if we have some good results in playoffs, maybe you can say this was a blessing in disguise because of the moves we were allowed to make," Kane said. "Acquired some very valuable assets, great leadership and a puck-moving defenseman in Kimmo, and then it looks like Vermette is going to fit in pretty well on our team."

The Blackhawks are in third place in the Central Division, six points behind the Nashville Predators and four points behind the St. Louis Blues. They would open on the road against the Blues if the playoffs started Sunday.

Kane is preparing to help the Blackhawks in the playoffs whenever he returns.

"You can look at it in a positive way," Kane said. "You can say it's just time for me to kind of maybe rest and relax, maybe get away from the game a little bit, try to get re-energized for when I do come back and, you know, when I get in the gym, when I get on the ice, make sure you're working hard, as hard as possible to feel good and get in good shape and feel good when I come back. Hopefully, like I said, I'll be re-energized, focused and have some excitement when I come back."