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Buffalo supports Kane in return
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/15/2007 11:56 PM

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 watched the Blackhawks skate Saturday morning. The attraction? Patrick Kane, of course.

When Kane's teammates saw the crowd, they hung back on the bench and pushed the rookie onto the ice and made him take a lap.

Kane was making his first trip back to his hometown since being drafted first overall by the Hawks last June.

"There's probably about 500 people that I know going to be at the game," Kane said.

A quick walk around the main concourse at HSBC Arena just after the gates opened for the game revealed many No. 88 Hawks jerseys, T-shirts and signs from Kane's home area of south Buffalo.

Kane's father and grandfather dropped the ceremonial first puck as the Sabres gave tribute to parents of all Western New York youth hockey players.

The crowd cheered Kane, but the feel-good moment was quickly over. The first time Kane carried the puck over the Buffalo blue line, a fan yelled, "Drill him."

Moments later, Kane scored to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead to a mixture of cheers and boos.

Game on: While general manager Dale Tallon continues to look for the "right deal" to improve the Hawks, Central Division rival St. Louis appears to have improved with Friday's acquisition of center Andy McDonald from Anaheim in exchange for veteran center Doug Weight.

The speedy McDonald has struggled this season but was a key piece to the Ducks' puzzle last year when they won the Stanley Cup.

Tallon is believed to be looking for another defenseman and a forward who could make the Hawks bigger up front.

Two more scouts from Edmonton watched Saturday's game. Oilers GM Kevin Lowe was on hand at the United Center on Wednesday to watch the Hawks play Los Angeles.

Shift disturber: If there's a skirmish breaking out on the ice, you can bet Adam Burish will be right there sticking his nose in it for the Hawks.

"I enjoy being confrontational on the ice," Burish said. "I enjoy getting in someone's face. It's a role I have on this team that I enjoy."

It has been a few years since the Hawks have had a pesky player as good at his job as Burish.

"Adam is an impact player every time he's on the ice and he hasn't scored a goal," said Hawks coach Denis Savard. "He makes an impact in a different way."

Back for more: The Hawks announced that Jesse Rogers will be returning to the club's radio broadcast team as studio host beginning with Wednesday's game against Nashville.

Rogers will host the Hawks' pregame and postgame shows as well as the intermissions on WSCR 670-AM.

Scouting report

Blackhawks vs. Florida Panthers at the United Center, 6 p.m.

TV: None

Radio: WSCR 670-AM

The skinny: This will be the tough second night of a back-to-back for both teams. While the Hawks played in Buffalo on Saturday, the Panthers were in Detroit facing the Red Wings. Prior to playing in Detroit, the Panthers shut out the Blues 1-0 in St. Louis behind goalie Tomas Vokoun. The Panthers have struggled, although they took the NHL's fifth-best power play into Saturday's game. The Hawks play three of the next four at home leading up to Christmas.

Player to watch: Patrick Lalime. The Hawks' backup goalie gets a rare start and needs to play well.

Next: Wednesday vs. the Nashville Predators at the United Center, 7:30 p.m.

-- Tim Sassone