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The “Patrick Kane at center” experiment is dead

Dec 2, 2011, 1:15 PM EDT

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Patrick Kane Getty Images

It was fun while it lasted.

Tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks will host the New York Islanders featuring a more traditional lineup than we’ve seen recently. Patrick Kane will return to his natural right wing spot after playing second-line center for the first two months of the season.

“I think center worked for a little bit,” Kane told ESPN Chicago. “It’s one of those things that is still an option. Sometimes you have to keep things exciting and switch it up.”

While playing Kane at center reaped early rewards (including this amazing spin-o-rama pass to Hossa), it’s fallen on hard times lately. No. 88 has no goals and just three assists in his last six games — not coincidentally, the ‘Hawks are 2-4 over that stretch.

Replacing Kane will be 21-year-old Marcus Kruger, who left Djugardens of the Swedish Elite League late last year to join Chicago for its final seven games of the season (and five of its seven playoff games.) Kane will play on a line with Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg while Kruger will center Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.

“Kane at center has been a good option for us, but Kruger is playing well,” head coach Joel Quenneville said. “It gives us a different look. We just wanted to try something else. Marcus gives us an option based on his performance.

“[We'll] see how he handles it with the top guys. It’s more of an experiment that way as well.”

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