A few days ago, reports surfaced that Patrick Kane had found himself in a little bit of mischief—or trouble—depending on how you decide to look at it.
Patrick Kane. What are we going to do with you?
We as fans.
For starters, what we should do is stop taking pictures with the guy while pretending to be a real fan with the intention of sending them to blogs like he is Paris Hilton for a few hundred bucks to make the rent. You get your name in the post, sure. For selling out a player while posing as a fan.
Who is honestly the jerk in this situation?
These issues with Kane remind me of the the Michael Phelps scandal after he became, you know, the greatest American Olympian ever and then came back home to his friends.
Phelps won a thousand gold medals for his country, putting on some some of the gutsiest sporting performances in recent memory, and then gets a phone call. "We went to high school together. Do you want to come hang out?"
A few behind the back photos later, and all of a sudden Phelps suddenly has questionable character.
Because that is why we enjoyed watching Phelps kick the hell out of some lippy Serbian and all comers, right? Because he doesn't smoke weed?
Give me a break.
We loved him because he dismantled everyone while wearing the Stars and Stripes on his back. He made sure everyone else associated with swimming became associated with silver as opposed to gold.
We loved him because he was Superman in a time where all we could read about and see on the news was Iraq and oil price hikes.
And then that?
Kane is a hell of a hockey player. His resume is stellar. The 'Hawks absolutely do not break their highly publicized 49-year Cup drought without Kaner and his mullet. A fan who first donned the Blackhawks crest at the age of six waited 43 years for that goal. The goal if you've been waiting for more than a decade for it.
How easily fans forget.
Some members of the blogosphere are calling for Kane to be traded. Out of Chicago and away from a city that is clearly causing issues for the young winger. After heading home to Buffalo for a short period of time after the Blackhawks dropped Game 7 to to Vancouver in round one, he promptly returned to Chicago because he missed it.
The night life. The people. The girls. Whatever.
The fact is he went home to Chicago. And he got sold out.
Kaner headed to what is apparently the raciest night club in Chi-town for reasons beyond the drink specials (one would think). And anyone heading to this place is looking for the same thing.
Long story short, he went there looking for the same thing the rest of the crowd present was. Sex and alcohol. The lights and the cushy seats while there isn't a game to be played anytime soon.
Except everyone else ended up on the receiving end of Jagerbombs from a Stanley Cup Champion.
What a terrible person.
This is an easy conclusion for guys posting articles and attaching some photos to them. But this guy is in the first week of the offseason, has just busted his rump for his career and his team for a couple of months, and has several million dollars sitting in his bank account.
So we love Kane because he isn't a bit of a trouble maker? No, he's always been that. I'd argue he's good for the league. He is the perfect foil to a player like Sidney Crosby's tenancies and personality and ethic. We can't fully appreciate this if we don't see the other side.
The fact is the FBI never raided Kane's house on dog fighting charges. He hooked up with a smoking blonde that he met at a bar. Is that not allowed since he is under contract from an Original Six franchise? Would this matter if he played for the Panthers? And you'd turn her down if you were single and rich?
This is the worst, most irresponsible player we have? We should be so lucky. And we are that lucky. We have an All-Star that likes to party. Oh, whatever will we do!?
For some reason, Kane attracts the spotlight, and apparently girls who like to use their camera phones to make a few dollars. He makes an easy target. He has no issue going out to a bar and mingling with people. He doesn't rock with bodyguards and doesn't keep to himself. He is living it up, while being a perennial 70-point player in the NHL.
Is this something he should be looked down upon for? Sure, he needs to learn a few lessons about how things work. But so did you while growing up. It is easy to forget the fact that Kane can hardly go out for a legal drink. He's a kid. He hasn't even had a chance to learn his lessons without the flashbulbs going off.
So get off his case, Chicago beat reporters. You're going to chase away an amazing player while trying to make a name for yourself. You guys with press badges who have such short memories where you can't remember what it was like to hit the streets for the first time, legal and rich.
(Well, at least you know what half of that is like.)
I have a simple question for fans: What were you out doing when you were his age? Perhaps you weren't doing the bar thing, and that's fine.
But right now Kaner is also out winning Calder Trophies, making All-Star game appearances and bringing home Cups. Isn't that what he is paid to do? Isn't that why he is famous in the first place?
So the next time you see Kane out on the town, maybe remember he is a college-age kid doing the same thing a lot of college age kids do, all the while maintaining the pressures of being a prominent all-star pro sports athlete. He didn't trade memorabilia for a house or tattoos. He simply met a girl he found attractive, and fell into a trap.
What, you've never done the same thing?
Ask him for his autograph and thank him for the Stanley Cup banner that you have hanging in your sports reporter office or in your Blackhawks themed kitchen.
As for the calls for Kane to be traded, he is an assassin. When the big games come up, he shows up huge. As such, I am sure there are 29 other teams in the League who would be sure to move some serious assets to secure such a supreme talent who has (more or less) harmless social tendencies.