Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson: Patrick Kane 100 percent healthy

Sunday night against the Kings was Patrick Kane’s fifth game back in the Blackhawks’ lineup since missing three contests with a lower-body injury.

Hawks coach Luke Richardson said he hasn’t asked Kane about his health a lot, and hasn’t seen the star winger shy away from anything on the ice. Most importantly, Richardson thinks Kane is 100 percent healthy.

“Keeping him out that extra few days helped,” Richardson said. “He’s busting to have a big game.”

Known for his offense, Kane entered Sunday with three points since returning, but has recently impressed Richardson in other ways. Richardson mentioned Kane’s backchecking, and talked about a play Thursday night in Philadelphia when Kane dumped in the puck, allowing teammate Tyler Johnson to retrieve it.

Plays like that are subtle but stand out to Richardson.

“That’s something that’s not in his DNA, but he knows how to win,” Richardson said. “To get him playing that way and sacrificing, going after those extra points or offensive chances, is a smart thing for us as a team and we’re lucky that he understands that and he plays [for] the team and [what] we need to win.”

Lafferty’s impact
One reason for the Hawks’ recent uptick has been forward Sam Lafferty. Richardson singled him out as an example for how to play, and praised him for his feistiness Saturday in St. Louis.

“That becomes contagious on a team, not just skating but playing like a team, playing together after whistles, everybody’s in the scrums and maybe dictating a little bit of that physical play, too,” Richardson said. “I saw him take a few runs at their defensemen, and he’s a big guy that can skate. It makes you feel a little uneasy back there when a guy like that is coming. He’s quiet, he doesn’t get into verbal battles with guys on the ice. He’s just all business and I like everything about his game right now.”

Forward Max Domi sounded similar to Saturday.

“Laff brings something, he’s usually our staple of skating, and he’s one of the fastest guys on our team,” Domi said. “When he’s playing with energy, it usually infects our whole group.”

Stay connected
Even with today’s modern communication technology, it seems like we’re more disconnected than ever.

That isn’t the case with the Hawks.

“Nowadays in the game of hockey or anything in the world, young people have social media, they have their iPhones and their iPads and their headphones, and they don’t seem to be connected together,” said Richardson, who was asked what has surprised him during his first season as a head coach. “They may come to do their jobs together or come to do what they have to do.

“This team seems like it’s an old-school hockey team,” Richardson added. “They like being together, they enjoy each other, they plan extra things with each other and I haven’t seen that on teams in a long time. That’s really not surprising, just pleasing for a coach.”

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