Will Kane Issue Hang Over Blackhawks?
If you’ve missed the summer soap opera that is the Patrick Kane case, well maybe you should consider yourself lucky. It’s a mess. The rape allegation and ensuing events have too many twists and turns to devote much more of this space to explain. Suffice it to say that the whole imbroglio could well follow the Chicago Blackhawks star for quite a while. And whether it weighs down him and his Stanley Cup defending team is a question to address as the National Hockey League season gets going.
First of all, there is the vague prospect that Kane, a 27-goal scorer who was a big part of the Blackhawks offensive corps last year, might be suspended. That notion seems to have been placed aside, because a scheduled grand jury hearing has been postponed indefinitely, and because NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been urging patience and caution over the whole matter. He’s apparently taking a wait-and-see approach. But how long we have to wait and what we’ll eventually see is the whole cloud that could be hanging over the United Center, alongside the championship banner.
Teammates On Board
The questions: Will this affect Kane’s play – good or bad? Will it hurt or help the team? Does it matter?
Kane’s teammates seem to be backing him. “He came to training camp and everybody was happy and anxious to see him,” winger Marian Hossa said.
“You can see how this team is run by the captains and the coaching staff,” said winger Ryan Garbutt, who came to the Hawks via trade. “They seem to handle everything that's thrown at them, and all that really matters is what happens on the ice.” Indeed. If Kane’s teammates are leaving his off-ice woes off of the ice, then they should go about the business of shooting for their fourth Stanley Cup title in seven years.
The Blackhawks will have a different look this year, with the departures of Brandon Saad, Brad Richards, Johnny Oduya and Patrick Sharp. But those trades may leave a positive mark, because they got defenseman Trevor Daley back, along with some other quality players like Garbutt. And with a core of contributors like Hossa and Jonathan Toews joining Kane up front, there is reason to believe that this season will be a typical Central Division war with the likes of St. Louis and Dallas.
A few games into the season and we should understand more about the effect the Kane story will have on the team. And stay tuned for any courtroom drama – that is, if you like courtroom drama.
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