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Kane off to stellar start for Blackhawks

By JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer Published: February 17, 2013

It's quite a change from the end of last season, when Internet photos of Kane partying in Madison, Wis., led to renewed questions about his maturity. He also was arrested in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009 after an altercation with a cabdriver.

General manager Stan Bowman said in May the team had talked to Kane about the pictures, and they handled the situation internally. And everyone certainly seems to be getting along just fine right now.

“He's had a good approach to this season,” Quenneville said. “I commend him on how he's handled it. Playing in Europe might have helped as well. But his peak conditioning, his frame of mind, his quickness on the ice, his strength, preparation, focus, you can't say exactly one thing but he's got it all going.”

Kane, a three-time All-Star, played for Biel in Switzerland's top division during the lockout, so he had a head start on much of the league when the players and owners reached a new labor deal in January. He also had a healthy offseason after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left wrist in July 2011.

“I guess one of the big things is I wasn't coming off another wrist surgery from last season,” he said, “which I felt like I was working out real hard during the summer and that kind of slowed me down for the rest of the summer. This year I had a full summer to work out and was healthy and sometimes health is the biggest thing.”

Kane, who is playing without his trademark mouth guard after going without one in Switzerland, has long been one of the most popular Blackhawks, both for his fun-loving image and his considerable ability on the ice. He had the winning goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup against Philadelphia, lifting the franchise to its first championship since 1961.

The video that plays on the overhead scoreboard before Chicago's home games includes Kane looking directly into the camera while declaring “I stand for the roar at the United Center.”

He's heard a bunch of those loud cheers already this year.

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