It was the most important "pushing and shoving" of the season for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Patrick Kane was cleared for contact and practiced with the team Monday. The dynamic winger, who broke his collarbone in February, then received medical clearance to play in Game 1 of the playoffs on Wednesday night in Nashville.

Kane wasn't hit hard in practice but said he is nearly ready for the physical demands of a game. After he had surgery on Feb. 25, team physician Michael Terry said a full recovery would take "approximately 12 weeks."

"I wouldn't necessarily call that contact," he said of Monday's skate. "It was more like pushing and shoving."

Kane missed the final 21 games of the season, yet still finished second on the team with 27 goals and 64 points. He was hurt in the first period of a victory over Florida on Feb. 24.

"We'll see how he does again tomorrow," coach Joel Quenneville said long before the Blackhawks' medical staff cleared Kane. "I thought he had real good progress today. He got cleared for contact and handled everything pretty well."

Forward Brad Richards, 35, and 40-year-old defenseman Kimmo Timonen, veterans who were acquired to give Chicago depth for a long playoff run, both said they are ready to play after missing the last three regular-season games because of upper-body injuries.

Wings pick Mrazek

The Detroit Red Wings will start Petr Mrazek in goal for the opening game of their playoff series against the NHL's highest-scoring team. The 23-year-old Mrazek will make his postseason debut Thursday night in Game 1 at Tampa Bay. Coach Mike Babcock picked him over Jimmy Howard, announcing the decision after practice Monday.

"I just thought that gave us our best way to start the series," Babcock said.

Howard has been Detroit's No. 1 goalie since the 2009-10 season. Two years ago, the Red Wings kept him off the free-agent market by giving him a $31.8 million, six-year contract.

Surgery for Benn

NHL scoring champion Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars played most of the season with hip problems and will have offseason surgery.

General Manager Jim Nill said Monday that Benn had issues with both hips. Nill said the winger should be ready for training camp in September.

Benn, 25, had 35 goals and 52 assists for the Stars, who missed the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons. He beat out the Islanders' John Tavares by one point for the scoring title.

Shanahan says Leafs will do more shakin'

In a little more than a year as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Shanahan has fired the team's general manager, two different head coaches and several assistants and scouts. And he said he's not done.

"[Players] understand yesterday was just the beginning, that there will be some changes," Shanahan said Monday, a day after firing GM Dave Nonis, interim coach Peter Horachek, his staff and several scouts.

After the team's worst season with the current group of core players, the next few months are expected to show that Shanahan's vision may not include captain Dion Phaneuf and right wing Phil Kessel. Shanahan didn't name names but made it clear the roster won't look the same when the puck drops for the 2015-16 season.

"After what's happened here over the last several years, I think [change] has to include everybody," Shanahan said.


Nail Yakupov signed a two-year, $5 million contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers. Yakupov, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, has 42 goals and 46 assists for 88 points in 192 NHL games.