Chicago Sun-Times

Patrick Kane moves back to right wing for Blackhawks

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For the foreseeable future, Patrick Kane will be at right wing. His well-documented run at center that started in the preseason came to an end Thursday at practice.

Using Kane at center will always be an option, but for the time being rookie Marcus Kruger will get a shot as the man in the middle on the second line, while Kane re-joins longtime linemate Jonathan Toews on the first line.

Here's what Kane, who has 24 points in 25 games this season, had to say about the switch after practice at Johnny's IceHouse West:

On moving back to right wing:

"It was probably just to change it up a little bit. I think center worked for a little bit. It's one of those things where it's still an option. It's probably an option down the road too. Sometimes you just have to keep things exciting and switch it up. I'm back at the right wing. I'm familiar with the position. I'll try to get back used to it a little bit, but it shouldn't take long."

On his comfort level at wing:

"Yeah, I think once I start playing [and] once I get a few shifts under my belt, I'll realize what I used to do on the ice at the position and what I used to be good at and set up plays and different things like that. I've been playing it since I was 15 years old, so that's seven to eight years under my belt. You develop a game over there, so I'm excited to be back."

On whether he had any issues at center, considering the difference in his home and road production:

"I felt OK. I felt I got pretty comfortable at the position. I'll still try to do some things I did at center where you're trying to get the puck a lot down low and moving up the ice and different things like that. It was definitely a bit of a challenge. Especially, like I said, playing a position (right wing) for seven to eight years, you get so used to playing on the right side. I don't think it's totally out of the books yet. It's something they can probably go back to if they need it."

On going back to center during games and having it as an option:

"That was probably what we were looking for all along. Maybe not something that would be permanent, but something that's an option down the road if need be. I'm not expecting to be done at that position. I'm sure there will be some changes throughout the year, just like I didn't expect to be at center the whole season. I knew there will be changes back and forth, and I'd be on the right side sometimes. Hopefully, in a perfect world, it all works out. But if not, I can play both now."

On whether going back to wing helps his energy level:

"A little bit. I think sometimes especially being a winger you don't have to be down low all the time [and] you don't have to worry about faceoffs too much except for grabbing loose pucks. It's not as much defensive responsibility. It was one of those things, center or wing, you're still skating a lot. You're still in the game. You're still moving all the time. Sometimes it's just a little extra down low."

On if he was feeling more expended at center:

"A little bit, maybe. But not too much. I still think I'm skating the same at center as I would at wing. It wasn't too much, no."

On being reunited with Toews:

"We've played together a lot, developed some chemistry. I feel every time we're put together it raises some excitement in both our games. I'm sure it will take a couple shifts to get reacquainted with each other. But I'm excited with the opportunity. Anytime you get a chance to play with Jonny, [Patrick Sharp], [Marian Hossa], those guys, you're going to be excited about it. I'm looking forward to the opportunity for sure."

On the challenges at center:

"Probably just being focused every second you're on the ice. It doesn't matter if you're in the offensive zone, defensive zone or whatever it may be. I think faceoffs were something I'd like to improve at. Being down in your own end, I felt I was pretty good. I tracked the puck well. I think they thought I probably played fine, but just probably looking for a little more production."

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Seems like the time is right. Worked for a while, but recently hasn't worked very well. Crawford in goal again Friday? Ugh.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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