Hysterics over Hawks' Kane hysterical

Updated 5/15/2012 10:21 PM

Patrick Kane on a bender.

Really, who could have seen that coming?


Judging by the headlines, this must be a big surprise to millions of hockey fans.

Seriously, this isn't a pattern for Kane. It's a way of life.

Kane is a child. Furthermore, he's irresponsible and frequently a fool.

Too often, he's a childish, irresponsible, drunken fool.

He doesn't want to grow up, and to this point no one has forced him to do it.

The strangest part is all who overlooked his faults on the ice -- and often made excuses for him -- suddenly see them now because of his flaws off the ice.

So he's apparently become a terrible hockey player in the three weeks since the season ended.

Actually, he's the same player he has been since he got here: small, soft, inconsistent, selfish and invisible when he gets hit repeatedly, as was the case in the Phoenix and Vancouver series the last two years.

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Pound him and he disappears. Some guys don't like to get hit, and Kane is the poster boy for vanishing when the game is physical.

Kane entered the league yapping at veterans and acting as if he owned the joint. To this day he doesn't fight through checks, and plays as if above it all, as though he's owed a path to the net.

At the same time, he's as skilled as any player in the league and can dominate a game when he feels comfortable and has room to roam.

Same guy for five years, but now the hockey experts say he's as useless as a goon.

Just that quickly, the torches have been collected and the pitchforks sharpened, and the townsfolk believe Patrick Kane must go.

But it is not quite that simple, nor is the reasoning for trading him, which centers around Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough, who know for certain only that Kane was hammered in Wisconsin.

The rest is a question. Witnesses as reliable and sober as Kane claim he choked a woman and mumbled anti-Semitic remarks. So far, no charges of any kind have been filed against Kane.


It's worth remembering that Wirtz and McDonough had to sit in a room for hours with Bobby Hull and convince him to return to the fold, knowing the franchise needed him to walk back through the doors and embrace the sweater before some fans would ever forgive the Wirtz family.

This is the same Bobby Hull who led North America in benders long before they kept such stats, and whose past includes numerous accusations and charges of domestic abuse. A report out of Moscow in 1998 had Hull saying, "Hitler for example, had some good ideas. He just went a little bit too far."

But the Blackhawks brought back Hull and paid him a lot of money to come to a few games, wave to the fans and pretend to like the team because the Hawks needed him to be a face of the franchise.

In time, people tend to forgive those they have cheered in the past, or want to cheer in the future.

And just as the Hawks needed Hull off the ice, they need Patrick Kane on it.

Unless they can get spectacular value for him in return, they're not going to deal him now at the worst possible time.

As for McDonough, the Cubs promoted lots of bad guys during his time with the Cubs because that was his job. There was no one worse than Sammy Sosa, and they sold a lot of tickets, jerseys and beer cans on his back.

So the notion that McDonough is going to fold the franchise if the Hawks can't dress 20 choirboys is laughable.

True, McDonough wants to present a classy operation and doesn't like being embarrassed, and you can be certain he'd like to pick Kane up by his scrawny little neck and shake him until his eyes rattle.

But McDonough isn't going to force a trade. The Hawks won't do it unless it makes them better, and trading Kane isn't likely to make the Hawks better.

What McDonough might do is sit Kane and his parents in a room and order the kid to rehab, or soon the conversation will be about his next address and diminished future earnings.

The matter of selling tickets is nonsense. The media's moral hazard is borne by the franchise in wins and losses, and while outrage is managed by those who have no stake in the game, those who possess tickets aren't going to give them up because they hate Kane's off-ice antics.

The faithful will cheer his next spin-o-rama with all the same fervor as they ever have, and those who don't want to visit the UC can give their tickets to any of 10 people waiting in line for them.

Yes, this marauding Madison marathon is embarrassing, Kane's worst exposure yet. But based on what we've heard over the years, it's easy to imagine much worse.

What's changed now -- the reason the screeching is louder -- is the first-round exit the last two springs. Other than that, this is Kane being Kane, both on the ice and off.

In reality, the only major difference today is Kane doesn't have a Stanley Cup-winning goal in his back pocket.


•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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