Roenick: Kane lucky he didn’t break his neck

Patrick Kane crashed hard into the boards in the first period and the Chicago Blackhawks struggled to defeat the Florida Panthers in shootout.

The National Hockey League’s top scorer could be out for as many as 10 weeks, but Jeremy Roenick says Patrick Kane is lucky his injury is not more severe.

Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks’ most thrilling player and a Hart Trophy candidate, was crosschecked from behind by the Florida Panthers’ Alex Petrovic in the first period of Tuesday’s 3-2 Blackhawks win. He immediately left the game with what the Chicago Tribune reported was a broken collarbone and was placed on long-term injured reserve Wednesday.

“It drives me crazy,” Roenick, a former Chicago star himself, told Brady & Walker of Sportsnet The Fan 590 Wednesday.

“I hate these plays that happen more often in the game today — these little crosschecks in the lower back and the backside when you’re three feet from the boards. They’re really unnecessary; they’re extremely dangerous.”

Petrovic was given a minor penalty for his actions but will not face further discipline from the league, according to multiple reports.

“One day somebody’s going to crosscheck somebody in the back that close to the boards, and he’s going to go in in a precarious position, and he’s going to break his neck,” Roenick said. “Then the NHL is going to make new rules because something really bad happened. They have to make the rule now.”

LISTEN: Jeremy Roenick on Patrick Kane’s injury, the Miracle on Ice, and how to fix the Maple Leafs

The Blackhawks recalled top prospect Teuvo Teravainen, according to ESPN Chicago, to take Kane’s spot in the lineup. The Blackhawks and Panthers waste no time facing off again, as the teams meet Thursday in Florida.

Roenick, an analyst with NBC Sports, also shared his opinion on how the Toronto Maple Leafs can begin to repair interim coach Peter Horachek’s free-falling club.

“They need to find to a good coach, first and foremost,” Roenick said. “To fire a coach [Randy Carlyle] when they did was a gamble, especially a guy who could at least squeeze something out of that team.”

Watch: HC @ Noon debates Petrovic’s hit on Kane

The former player criticized the Leafs’ lack of identity and questioned whether star forward Phil Kessel, at $8 million per year, could be moved in exchange for a Grade A return. Perhaps a star-for-star deal could revitalize the careers of two players.

“Is it time for Eric Staal to move on? He seems to be stuck in this no-man’s land, nobody there to help him [in Carolina]. He’s still a very good player. Is a swap for a Staal and a Kessel good for both teams and both players?” Roenick wondered.

“Toronto’s gotta change something. The chemistry and the dynamics are not working, obviously. And I don’t think Toronto fans will take it much longer.”

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