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Blackhawks Fri Aug 02 2013

Patrick Kane Showing Signs Of Maturity

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.png We've all experienced what it's like to be in our early-20s -- going out and partying like there was no curfew, and living every night like there was no tomorrow. Mingling amongst your friends, while trying to hook-up with the opposite/same sex and ordering whatever drinks might sound good at the time: a rum and Coke; a Lite beer; something blue with an umbrella.

Yes, for most, it's a learning experience on what eventually not to do as your late-20s/early-30s creep up quicker than washing down a shot of J├Ągermeister at John Barleycorn's during last call. But for the very few, it comes attached with being captured on video, via smartphones, and having it submitted to sites like Deadspin. Patrick Kane knows the latter all too well.

It's no secret that Kane has become the poster child for partying like a rock star, with such recent incidents as lighting it up in Madison in May of 2012, or the infamous "cab incident" back in 2009. Questions began to swirl amongst local talk radio stations and in newspapers as to whether or not Kane would be traded away due to his inclination to beat a bottle of booze over a fore-checking line in the third period.

If most anyone were making the same amount of money a young, talented hockey player in the NHL were making, who happened to be in their early-20s and living in the third-largest city in the country, they'd be hard-pressed not to allow the same demons creep into their consciousness and pit a battle against the Id and Super-ego like a face-off at the dot.

As the lockout loomed over the 2012-13 NHL season, many players jumped the pond and headed to Europe to sharpen their skills and look for other sources of revenue, while commissioner Gary Bettman, the owners and NHLPA reps sorted out millions and billions of dollars. Kane was one of those players, as he headed to Switzerland to play for EHC Biel.

Oh boy. Kaner? In Europe? Practically unsupervised? Not even Vince Vaughn himself could provide enough entertainment overseas. Would Kane take his partying ways to a continent fresh with better beer, no attachments and a more liberal lifestyle? That was the worry amongst many fans, as well as the Blackhawks' brass, as the lockout threatened another season of hockey.

In a shocking turn of events, and what was the beginning of the slow maturity of Patrick Kane, he instead left his baggage stateside and took his mother with him.

"I was going to bring dad but I got a text from (my mother) this morning, 'It's just me and you.'" Kane said in an interview with Comcast Sportsnet Chicago's Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN). "I don't know if she'll be there the whole time, but she'll go over and help me get settled in."

Kane thrived in Switzerland, shed a few pounds and showed up for the Blackhawks' first practice, post-lockout, in much better shape and with a newer sense of commitment to the organization. What followed was a team-high 55 points in the regular season (23 goals, 32 assists); a team-high 19 points in the playoffs (nine goals, 10 assists); and the honor of becoming only the fourth American-born player to win the Conn Smythe as the MVP of the playoffs. Oh yeah, he also lifted his second Cup in four seasons.

And now, after celebrating another championship in an already very-young career, Kane seems to be growing up right before our eyes. He recently was interviewed on CSN Chicago and showed emotion when speaking about his appreciation for the Blackhawks and their sticking with him through the tougher times in his career.

(Video Courtesy of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago.)

Kane still is a very ripe 24-year-old, and he might even slip up again, as most of us have in our life. We only can hope he'll find solace in knowing he's adored by thousands of young kids, who look up to he and the rest of the team, in what has been a renaissance of his play and the team's popularity.

He undoubtedly will continue to be under the microscope, and will continue to find temptation around every corner, whether it be here in Chicago, or with his buddies back in Buffalo. But if there's one thing where we can begin to find hope in Kane, it's that he's beginning to live up to his end of the bargain, in a contract with the fan base, which doesn't allow for a lockout.

No one was safe from Kane and his partying ways, as he lifted his shirt in limos and created controversy in Madison. If he stays on this current path, no one in the league will be safe from his scoring ways, while eventually working towards one day having his jersey lifted in the Madhouse.

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