Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | November 19, 2011

Man of the Day 11/19: Patrick Kane

Patrick Timothy Kane Jr.

Born November 19, 1988 (age 23) in Buffalo, New York, USA

Center/right winger for the Chicago Blackhawks

Oh, you know I had to profile him today! While most of his fellow players were beginning to skate and play between the ages of 2-4, Patrick didn’t begin to play till the age of seven. But he took to it like a duck to water, and  he was playing on so many different teams that he had to change jerseys in the car between games! Then at 14 he made the fateful decision to leave home and go to Michigan to play midget hockey with the Honeybaked AAA club; of course, two hours after he arrived, he called his parents and told them to come back and get him (aww!). But they didn’t, and he spent two years with Honeybaked, billeting with the great Pat Verbeek before joining the National Team Development Program; he did that rather than go straight to the OHL after the London Knights picked him in the 2004 OHL Midget Draft.

After two years in the NDTP, Patrick moved on to the Knights in 2006 and spent an amazing rookie year there – he racked up 145 points and won the Emms Family Award for the league’s rookie of the year. Central Scouting had him ranked second for the 2007 draft, but the Chicago Blackhawks took their first-ever first overall draft pick and used it to snag him. They signed him to a three-year contract and made his debut that October. He got his first shootout goal and his first assist on October 6th, and he got his first regulation goal on the 19th – that got him NHL Rookie of the Month honors. After a 72-point season, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year, beating out his teammate Jonathan Toews.

Baby Kaner fights for the puck.

Oh, but it gets better. He scored his first hat trick during the 2009 playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks – that was the year they made it to the Western Conference Final before being denied by the Detroit Red Wings. Then came that beautiful 2009-10 season, where he made the Cup-winning goal in overtime that wedged in the padding so only he knew at first. That capped off a season in which he also won silver as a member of Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics (which goes along nicely with the gold medal he won for the U18 Championships, the bronze medal from 2007 World Juniors, his Calder, etc).

Wait, did you ask about the incident with the cab driver? I won’t go over that, there’s been too much talk about it already.

Last season saw him earn 73 points, but he would’ve had more had be not been sidelined with an ankle injury – the 9 games he missed were the most he’d ever missed in his young career; he did manage to be named alternate captain for Team Lidstrom at the 2011 All-Star Game. What’s going on this season? Not only is he now centering his own line, he has 7 goals and 14 assists so far, and the season’s still young. He’s also been the talk of the league with that gorgeous Spin-O-Rama assist and is tearing up the ice in his new position…and that’s all after he had surgery to repair a fracture in his wrist. I love it when he’s in Beast Mode out there.

I also love it when he's in Gorgeous in a Suit Mode.

I’m going to take a page out of Emma’s book and get personal for a moment. Like her, the Thrashers were my intro to hockey, but it was the Blackhawks’ game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 20, 2011 that made me notice this team. It was Kaner especially that caught my eye with his flash on the ice, and the more I learned about him, the more I gravitated to him. I don’t overlook his off-ice behavior, but it really irks me when people mention it every time he’s profiled or featured somewhere or does something during the season. He hasn’t let it run his life, nor has it diminished his play. He’s working on being the elite player he wants to be, and I’m happy to be witness to that. I hope he knows that he holds a special place in my heart.

February 20, 2011: the shootout goal that sealed the deal for me as a newly-minted Blackhawks fan.

Happy birthday, Patrick. May the wish you make today (I’m going to guess it’s a win against the Oilers) be granted.

– Krista

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