I’ve been holding my tongue for four months trying to figure out what exactly to say about what happened with Patrick Kane this summer.
He’s a huge talent on the ice, and by all accounts, he’s a wonderful guy off the ice as well – Denis Savard has said that he’ll try his best to do something if you ask it of him. But he’s also human and 23 to boot. You also have to account for the fact that while most kids/teens are spending time with friends and doing normal school and social things, he was off playing hockey…or practicing…or in playoff games…or at hockey camp. So in some respects, he’s still a kid who’s catching up on what he’s missed.
That being said, what he did back in May was bad. If you don’t already know, over Cinco de Mayo weekend he went to the Mifflin Street Block Party, which just happens to be close to the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He hung out at a few frat houses and got more than a bit drunk. Oh, and of course there were pictures and secondhand accounts of how drunk he was.
Right away, people screamed that he should be traded or sent to rehab. These two suggestions are completely laughable for the following reasons:
- Patrick is an essential part of the Blackhawks’ core. Yes, he had a bad season (if you can call 66 points bad), but that and a drunken weekend are no reason to trade him. Besides, here’s the most important point: he has a no-trade clause in his contract. Oops, the haters forgot about that.
- Let’s see, he was drunk that weekend, and he was drunk two years ago at the Cup rally. Yep, he’s an alcoholic! Of course I’m being sarcastic about that, but you see my argument? Those two incidents don’t warrant rehab. He does need to curb the drinking so that he doesn’t turn into a doucherocket, but from what I’ve been told by people whose loved ones suffer from alcoholism, Patrick’s not even close to being that bad.
I’m going to guess that Stan Bowman and Coach Q sat Patrick down and gave him hell for his magical trip to Madison, and maybe they threatened to cut his ice time or even bench him if it happened again. It seemed to, for lack of a better word, sober him up by the time Convention rolled around (must remember to do a Convention recap in the near future). He apologized and said it was embarrassing for him because he wants to be a role model to everyone, not just kids. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt on this.
I love him to death, but he’s got to be more aware of himself. This means, if he has to, ditching friends who enable that stupid behavior. And like I said, curb the drinking. I wouldn’t restrict it altogether, just don’t drink as much, and do it with people you trust won’t get your ass in trouble. Above all, he needs to remember that his actions affect other people. Trust me, a lot of people in this world don’t think about that.
(By the way, you know those secondhand accounts of his drunken behavior? Well, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune did what all good journalists do – he followed up on them and found that none of them were actually true.)
His summer’s been kinda quiet since Convention – laying low in Buffalo at his house on the lake and driving up to St. Catharines, Ontario twice a week for skill development. He even played in a local hockey league and was on their winning team. I’m waiting for the season to start so I can see if that quiet summer will explode on the ice, and if he’s taken his own words to heart. He’s a hockey player, but he’s a man first and foremost.
And I believe in him.