Thursday, January 7, 2010

Starting to Payback the 20 Cents

Patrick Kane, infamously known for getting rowdy in the back of a Buffalo taxicab, famously known for good wheels and handling on the ice, is finally starting to pay it back, (not yet forward), to some of the kids that look up to him.

Kane, yet another viewer of the Winter Classic at Fenway, didn't flip to Spike TV to watch Manswers to find out the best way to have sex on a motorcycle after the game was over. No, he stayed tuned to NBC to catch probably one of the most important moments of his young life, to be named to the US Olympic team.

A lot of credit has been given to the braintrust at USA Hockey for the style in which the roster was revealed, using local youth hockey players to don the national jerseys with the pro's names on the back. Kane was so impressed by the show that he dialed up the powers-that-be in order to get the name of the boy who wore his so he could complete the memory for both of them by signing the jersey. A good thought on Kane's part, and a classy gesture.

A small step towards repolishing the reputation of being a bratty little cheap skate into one of being a big star and one of the best hockey players in the League.

Anywho, the original article can be found here in the Chicago Tribune, but it mainly uses Kane's kindness as a jumping off point to talk about how the Chicago sports teams, with the exception of the Hawks, have been sucking. But there are some interesting, if not obvious, quotes from Patty that I thought were worth re-posting.

First off the big one is, "If we don't win the Stanley Cup this year, we're not going to be happy, it's a pretty bold statement but... we know we have a good group in here and we can't get too full of ourselves."

Finally somebody on the team said it. Now that's pressure. Its bash-over-the-head apparent that the Hawks have put all the eggs in the proverbial basket to go for it all this year. Their roster will be dramatically different next year due to salary cap issues with the gargantuan contracts to Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa, and the resigning of the big three RFA's, Kane, Toews, and Keith.

Which ties in with the following quote, "I wouldn't mess with this team too much and I don't think they will either."

Its no doubt that the lineup changes after this season, but there have been many speculations about the Hawks going after that game changing rental player. The most mentioned name is Kovalchuk which has gained steam from Pierre LeBrun's mention on the Hotstove segment of HNIC.

Its hard to know whether a presence like that in the locker room will make any change in the chemistry, or be a worthwhile gamble on the scoresheet. Kovy is no doubt a talented offensive player, but his limited postseason experience, and his stats in those four games are less than impressive, (1 G, 1 A).

But the Hawks have offensive thrust, and at the beginning of the year, considering Khabibulin's departure and Huet's shaky play, that goaltending would be the chink in the armor. Biron is the most obvious name in terms of available goaltenders, but I don't think anyone's convinced that Biron is a goaltender that can lead a contending team to glory. Philly sure didn't. But Huet has picked up his play, and Niemi has been solid in relief, making the Indian a formidable opponent on every given night.

At the very least, the Blackhawks know what's expected of them, and that this may be their best opportunity to fulfill it, from young Kane on up.

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