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Blackhawks Thu Feb 14 2013
Remember when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and we all thought how funny Patrick Kane, aka "Kaner," was when he was clearly inebriated at championship celebration? Good. Then you also remember the subpar season he had only to follow it up an ill-advised trip to Wisconsin.
The summer after the team lost to the Phoenix Coyotes, fans called for Kane to be traded. At one point, you would have thought that Deadspin and 670 The Score were following him around. I still think it was ironic that an intern from The Score just happened to be at the bar the same time Kane was.
The kid had some growing up to do. No one can front on that, even though some Hawks do not want to admit it. A fanbase that likes to coddle Kane knows that the team expects more from him. He is the other face of the franchise. It seems like Kane worked hard in the off-season and during the lockout.
This season, Kane is playing like a man who wants to prove his worth.
Currently, he is in the NHL's top 10 in points, goals and assists. Sounds like a player who wants to be around for awhile if you ask me. There's also been talk of him being in the running for the Hart Trophy, the NHL's Most Valuable Player award. I don't think he will top the season Thomas Vanek of Buffalo is having, but it's good fodder nonetheless.
You might be asking yourself what got into Kane. What did he do during the off-season to improve his game?
I have two theories on why he improved so much as player:
1. Donna Kane: His mother, Donna, stayed with him during his time in Switzerland during the lockout. It looks like structure and stability was provided by momma Kane. At the very least, it wouldn't hurt him at all.
2. The Hawks being a veteran team: You might notice around the league that the teams (i.e. Penguins, Canucks and Blues) who have a core group of players who have played together for years have made a seamless transition during the lockout-shortened season thus far. The Hawks are in that group.
From what we have seen so far, it seems like #88 is going to keep up his current pace. Don't be surprised to see the Hawks in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.