COLUMBUS, Ohio – Patrick Kane wanted to assure fans of the U.S. Olympic hockey team that he’s fine.
“No, no,” he insisted Sunday when asked if he was concerned about his knee after a mid-ice hit left him sprawled in pain.
Kane, a member of the U.S. Olympic team, went down with an injury to his right knee and gingerly skated to the bench early in the third period of the Chicago Blackhawks’ game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kane was skating with the puck into the offensive zone when Columbus defenceman Anton Stralman tried to hip-check him as he crossed the blue line. Instead, their right knees slammed into each other.
“It was a knee on knee,” said Kane, who had earlier scored his 25th goal of the season. “It just felt sore for a bit. I think it’s one of those things that once it gets hit, you’ve just got to warm it up a bit. It didn’t really affect me the rest of the game.”
In fact, the 21-year-old right wing came back to score in the shootout. The Central Division-leading Blackhawks won their fourth game in a row when Troy Brouwer scored in the fourth round of the tiebreaker to give Chicago a 5-4 victory.
Kane and five teammates were headed for Vancouver immediately after the game to join their national teams. The Blue Jackets also had six Olympians on their roster.
Moments after the shootout ended, equipment men were separating the sticks, pads and uniforms of the Blackhawks headed back to Chicago from those flying on to Vancouver.
Blackhawks right-winger Marian Hossa, who will play for the Czech Republic, did not play in Sunday’s game because of an undisclosed injury.
Coach Joel Quenneville said he thought both Hossa and Kane would not be hindered in playing at the Olympics.
“We know our business and injuries are a big part of it,” Quenneville said. “Trying to stay healthy is part of the rigours of the regular season. Sometimes you have tough stretches. I think both guys are going to be fine.”
Kane lay on the ice for two minutes after the hit. Brouwer then fought with Stralman, with Brouwer called for a double-minor for instigating. The 4 minutes led to Fedor Tyutin’s goal which tied the game at 4, eventually sending it into overtime and then the shootout.
“I felt it was dirty,” Brouwer said of Stralman’s hit. “It’s always tough to see a teammate go down. So I had to step in.”
Kane returned soon after Tyutin’s power-play goal and didn’t miss a shift the rest of the way.