Those of you who wondered if Chicago rookie Patrick Kane would need a couple of years to acclimate himself to the speed and power of the NHL game can rest easy now, you have your answer.
In fact, he needed just a handful of exhibition games and one regular season game to get the idea. Since then, the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft has compiled 12 points in eight contests. The diminutive right winger is starting to remind people of a young Paul Kariya, who burst on the NHL scene back in 1994 as a 19-year-old and was a 100-point player by the time he was 21.
Don't get me wrong – the Hawks tried to ease Kane into the NHL. His ice time was under 17 minutes per game for the first three contests. With star winger Martin Havlat sustaining an injury in the season opener, coach Denis Savard began to realize the team needs what Kane brings to the table: Offense. By the fourth game, Kane was up to 17:38. He logged 21 minutes in three of the next five games and 20 minutes on Tuesday versus Columbus.
Poolies – there are still 73 more games for him to play this season. He hasn't even scratched the surface. His linemates are primarily Jonathan Toews (a fellow rookie) and Tuomo Ruutu, and the trio has shown excellent chemistry throughout training camp and early on in the season. If the three of them remain healthy for most of the season, look for Kane to garner 70 or 75 points. He'll flirt with 100 on several occasions before his promising career is over…
Washington winger Chris Clark is pointless this season and has no doubt been dropped in most rotisserie leagues and his owners are likely sour on him in keeper leagues. This is because he is a third-line, 25-point player when he is not playing with Alexander Ovechkin – which, he hasn't been.
Clark has been moved back onto the big line for the first time this season after several failed experiments to spread out the offense. With Clark back on Ovechkin's line, look for both players to pick up their game dramatically for the next couple of weeks…
Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Another reason for Clark's promotion is the fact Alexander Semin will be back in the Washington lineup Wednesday and he will play on the second line. He had missed much of the season with a sprained ankle…With Darcy Tucker out of the Toronto lineup for several weeks and with Kyle Wellwood healing slower than expected, look for Simon Gamache to remain with the big club for a while longer and produce at a 60-point pace while he's there…Bryan Berard's groin injury will keep him out of the lineup for two to four weeks. Look for Marc-Andre Bergeron to draw back into the Islanders lineup and make a huge statement. After being a healthy scratch for three games, you can bet Bergeron is angry and will take it out on the puck with his booming shot…
Farm Report: Columbus prospect Jakub Voracek and Philadelphia prospect Claude Giroux are continuing their strong play from training camp into the Quebec League. The two players are tied for third in league scoring with 22 points. Giroux did it in just 14 games, but Voracek has been even more impressive – his points came in just eight games. Both players have a very real shot at the NHL next season, but give Voracek the edge if you had to pick just one.
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(Originally submitted to, and published by The Hockey News and MSN.ca on October 24)