Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/18/13
The stall to Patrick Kane’s left in the Blackhawks’ dressing room at the United Center belongs — for now at least — to Teuvo Teravainen a teenager with dazzling offensive skills and limitless potential a bally­hooed player with the hockey world at his feet and heavy expectations on his shoulders. Kane the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft knows a little something about that. ‘‘It’s almost like you have a little project when you’re sitting next to this guy right here’’ Kane said Tuesday morning hours before the Hawks’ 2-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings in the preseason opener. ‘‘You want to teach him a few things talk to him tell him about the game. It’ll be fun to play with him.’’ That sense of responsibility and leadership is still relatively new for Kane still practically a kid himself at 24. He always has had otherworldly offensive gifts — the jaw-dropping video of him stickhandling through a maze of pucks had players around the league calling and texting him to see if it was real and is fast approaching 2 million views on YouTube in less than a week. But last year he seemed to enter a new phase of his career. A humbled and matured Kane became a leader in the locker room a model citizen off the ice and a more well-rounded defensively responsible player on it. The impact was obvious: his best season (55 points in just 47 games) and the Conn Smythe Trophy to go with the Stanley Cup. And now Kane wants to take yet another step. ‘‘You always want to improve your speed and your strength; I’d like to be better in the one-on-one battles this year and make sure I’m coming away with those pucks’’ said Kane who lost a few pounds over the summer but looks fitter and stronger than ever. ‘‘I feel like when I do get the time and space I can make some plays so I can be a little bit better in that. I think I’m getting better defensively as time goes on here at camp whether it’s stripping pucks or blocking passes but you want to do something with those opportunities. All around from top to bottom you want to just keep getting better — shot stickhandling speed strength defensive everything.’’ That attitude has impressed Hawks coach Joel Quenneville as much as the viral video. ‘‘He’s a special special player to begin with’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘To not be satisfied where he’s at you like that type of an attitude going into a season. You like the fact that the best guys they keep wanting to get better. That’s what makes them special. He gives me the impression that that’s what he’s looking for and he’s going to find a way to do it.’’
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