It was the biggest, and most unfortunate, news to hit the Chicago Blackhawks in weeks.
“Adam Burish went into the boards on Sunday night in Minnesota and injured his right knee. When a player like him leaves the ice it is always concerning and unfortunately he suffered an ACL tear. He will undergo a reconstruction as soon as possible and we anticipate a complete recovery. His return will take approximately six months,” reads a statement from Chicago Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry.
“I went into the boards goofy. It was one of those goofy plays, I was helpless,” said Burish to a very large crowd of reporters after the team’s practice on Tuesday. Fellow forward and South Buffalo resident Patrick Kane, certainly no stranger to recent heightened publicity, spoke about his fallen teammate:
“Obviously, I know if I was looking forward to the year and something like that happened to me, I’d be devastated, so I’m sure he feels the same way. I talked to him a little bit, it’s tough for him. I’m sure he’s pissed off, and it’s just a bad break, hopefully he can get back as soon as he can.”
Kane himself is having a pleasantly quiet and uneventful pre-season thus far. He sat out the Sunday night preseason game in which Burish was injured, and in the preseason opener last Saturday, he recorded 21 minutes on ice and three unsuccessful shots on goal. That game, a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, was noteworthy because it established a preseason franchise attendance record, drawing a capacity crowd of 19,734.
Last season’s deep playoff run, coupled with the star power of young goal-scorers such as Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp etc. helped the Blackhawks lead the National Hockey League in average attendance (22,247) per game. In order to duplicate that success at the box office this season, it would help to have their army of high-scoring forwards at full strength.
Last season, the 26 year old Burish registered career highs in both goals and points, and today he expressed optimism in his teammates’ ability to pick up the slack while he’s away.
“They’ll be fine. That’s the least of my worries. It’s such a good and deep team. For training camp, I’m sure if you ask the coaches, they don’t even know who to put in the lineup, there’s so many guys, that won’t be an issue on this team.” Burish is the team’s best enforcer, and according to Chicago Magazine, the city’s 26th most eligible bachelor.
And it’s that sharp Burish sense of humor that keeps the Hawks’ locker room upbeat and fun. “He’s very good for the locker room, he’s the disc jockey for one, and he does keep the boys loose. He likes to joke around. Myself personally I really enjoy that, so he’s going to be missed around the locker room more than anything,” Kane said in describing what Burish’s effect on team chemistry.
Kane also articulated what the team will miss from Burish on-the-ice.
“He sacrifices his body for everyone on the team and you can see that when he’s blocking shots, penalty killing, taking hits to make plays, that’s just the way he plays and when you play like that, you’re bound to get hurt sometimes. He’s a great player for us, a key part of the organization and the team, and the fans love him too.”
(Paul Banks is a Chicago-based writer for Buffalo Sports Daily who’s been assigned the specific task of covering Buffalo native Patrick Kane. We’re calling the series the “Kane Chronicles” . Banks also is involved with an excellent Chicago sports website called The Sports Bank. Be sure to check it out)