Patrick Kane returning soon? Takes practice slap shots and one-timers

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Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) skates with the puck against New Jersey Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas (22) during the third period at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks defeat the New Jersey Devils 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
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Jason Zucker is expected to return to the Minnesota Wild lineup Tuesday night. And this is really important for the Blackhawks – for reasons having nothing to do with Zucker’s hockey skill. 

It’s because Zucker suffered a broken collarbone Feb. 9. That was 15 days prior to when Chicago scoring ace Patrick Kane suffered the same issue on Feb. 24. This equates to a 57-day recovery time for Zucker.

While all collarbones are not created equally, make that 57 days from Kane’s injury and you come up with April 22, 2015. From a hockey perspective that would come … some point in the middle of the first round of the playoffs, and not the May 20 '12-week from injury date' we were all targeting.

The Chicago Sun-Times set the scene for Kane at Tuesday’s practice:

As the Blackhawks morning skate wound down on Tuesday, Patrick Kane reared back — his stick past perpendicular above his head, almost like a golf swing — and fired a one-timer into an empty net.

Clearly, he’s coming back sooner than later.

Kane was taking slap shots and one-timers on Tuesday, the next step in his recovery from a broken clavicle suffered on Feb. 24. His original timetable had him out 12 weeks, and it’s only been six. But Hawks coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t ruled out anything, including a return at some point during the first round of the playoffs, which begin next Wednesday.

Slap shots? That’s a big deal, just due to the nature of Kane’s injury.

Kane has looked amazing in practice according to his teammates – again what are they going to say. That he was awful? But still, you need some sort of extra source on this.

Again from the Sun-Times:

“Kaner looks great,” Andrew Shaw said after Tuesday’s skate. “Doesn’t even look like he missed a step. His hands are there, his shot’s still there. He’s unbelievable to watch.”

Kaner? Blackhawks nickname? DRINK! Just put him in right now!

The playoffs are a physical type of game, and Kane will need to at least get his body re-adjusted to the contact nature of the game before he returns.

From CSN Chicago:

As for when Kane will be able to get contact, Quenneville said, “we’ll see.”

That practice contact probably wouldn’t even come until next week.

If he can come back at some point in the first round, man that would be absolutely awful for whichever team the Blackhawks play. The Blackhawks bolstered their lineup to deal with a longer Kane absence, getting forward Antoine Vermette and defenseman Kimmo Timonen.

Right now, that first round opponent would be Nashville. Sorry Predators … you may have to deal with Kane after all. But it’s not like Chicago has folded since Kane’s injury, going 12-5-1. The Hawks were going to be a tough out regardless, but Kane's return makes them a legitimate Stanley Cup threat. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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