2010 Stanley Cup Finals: Patrick Kane's Tough Season Ends With a Silver Lining
It's the kind of story that movie directors drool over, and this season for Patrick Kane was worthy of the big screen spotlight.
He started off by having the honor of being the face of the popular video game, EA Sports' NHL 2010 in May 2009 as the budding star looked to burst into the spotlight.
And just a few months later, he certainly made it to the spotlight; the problem was he made it there for all the wrong reasons. On Aug. 9, 2009 he was arrested for allegedly attacking a taxi cab driver over a lack of change. He was charged with robbery and fourth-degree mischief and had embarrassed both himself and his team in the process.
He, along with his cousin were cleared of all charges, but the damage had already been done. Kane would start the 2009-2010 NHL season as the punch line of a joke as his reputation took a massive hit.
He publicly apologized for his actions but would endure a season-long struggle as he attempted to right his image and get his (and everyone else's) focus back on hockey.
Many wondered if the distractions of his difficult offseason would have an effect on the budding star’s chances at reaching the super star status he has the potential to reach. Many wondered if the amount of criticism he was taking would be too much to handle.
Many wondered a lot of things about Kane this season, but as those who succeed always do, he put his troubles behind him, and went back to doing what he does best.
He had a stellar season, scoring 30 goals and matching his jersey number with 88 points through 82 games. And he did it all with that same exuberance and excitement that he's shown ever since he stepped into the league, while that same mouth guard hung out of his mouth in true to form fashion.
He was named to Team USA at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and was a major part of the team's success as they made it all the way to overtime in the Gold Medal game against Canada.
He and his teammates were crushed by Sidney Crosby's golden goal; a goal that was eerily similar to one that Kane would be involved in during another, more recent overtime game.
The Silver Medal was disappointing, but Kane and the Hawks still had as good a chance as any at winning the Stanley Cup.
As they pushed their way through the playoffs, back to the Conference Finals where they were eliminated last season by the Detroit Red Wings, and into the Finals, it was clear to everybody that this team had learned from the year before and were ready to take it to the next level.
Fast forward to June 9, 2010 —overtime in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers. As knuckles grew whiter and nails became increasingly shorter, Kane stepped in off the right side and blasted a low shot through Michael Leighton's pads (a familiar sight from that other important overtime game he was involved in this season) and sent his team and the city of Chicago into a frenzy they haven't seen in a long, long time.
As Kane danced down the ice after scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal, his mullet flowing in the breeze with his teammates in hot pursuit, you couldn't help but think back at how the season began for the 21-year-old sniper.
He started it by sitting in the back of a police car. He ended it by setting off a celebration in Chicago that will no doubt find some Hawks fans in the same situation.
From silver handcuffs, to a silver medal, to the silver of the Stanley Cup.
It was a bumpy ride for Kane this season, but as he celebrated the biggest goal of his career, there was no doubt who the spotlight was on once again.
And this time, just as a storybook ending should go, it was for all the right reasons.
Congratulations to the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
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