9:35 AM CDT, May 14, 2012
The Blackhawks have said nothing about Patrick Kane’s latest photo spread. Do they care what their highest-profile player does? Do they care that their ticket-buyers might have questions?
It has been over a week since Deadspin shared these shots and anecdotes, but the Hawks have told their fans zip, zero, zilch. That says to me that the Hawks believe Kane is guilty.
Look, if the pictures were, say, photoshopped and Kane was being punk’d, then the Hawks would be loudly decrying the unfairness of it all. If Kane was the Boy Scout they’ve tried to market, then you betcha the Hawks would be screaming about it.
But they aren’t.
The Hawks aren’t saying anything. Remember, the Hawks are generally loud and boosterish. They schedule news conferences for a 2 percent increase in broadcast ratings.
This incident involves one of the Hawks’ two hood ornaments, and there is deafening silence about Kane’s apparent Cinco de Mayo bender in Madison, Wis., that allegedly included choking a woman before being thrown out of a party and making an anti-semitic slur during another altercation. Oh, and don’t forget the alleged public intoxication and passing out at a bar.
Nothing from the Hawks. No matter how many times the Hawks are asked. Nothing.
So, Kane gets the same kind of defense off the ice that he provides on it. That says the problem child is guilty.
It’s also might say something else: that someone at every level of the organ-I-zation is trying to trade Kane.
Think about it: Someone at every level would have reason to want Kane’s immature, image-staining, overrated, playoff-failing backside out of here.
This is like “Clue,’’ only the board game is played on ice, or face down in a bar.
People up and down the flow chart would have a motive to dump Kane, starting with owner Rocky Wirtz. It’s his team that Kane continually embarrasses going back those limo photos in Vancouver. It’s his franchise that looks stupid going back to Kane’s abuse of a senior citizen driving a taxi in Buffalo. It’s his name on the checks that average $5 million for below-average seasons from Kane. You wouldn’t just understand Wirtz’s demand to run Kane out of town, geez, you’d applaud.
How about John McDonough? The team president became one of the most powerful men in Chicago sports when he created sellouts for a loser baseball team and then became one of the most powerful men nationally when he devised a plan that filled the United Center with fans, TV cameras and ultimately a Stanley Cup. Much of the Hawks’ momentum was based on Kane and Jonathan Toews, and once again half of that duo is throwing up on the Indian head. The Cubs’ popularity and institutional brainwashing could withstand and even deodorize a fraud such as Sammy Sosa. The Hawks don’t have that luxury. Someone as smart as McDonough must know this. You can bet that McDonough was central in making Kane’s cab driver episode disappear. You can bet he’d have reason to make Kane himself disappear this time.
Then there’s Stan Bowman, the general manager handpicked by -- ta-da! -- dad. Bowman failed to bring in a legitimate No. 2 center, then failed to get past the first round for the second straight season, then defiantly defended Kane as a legitimate No. 2 center. Which is a joke, not to mention a weak defense of his own inability to make the Hawks better. If Bowman’s job wasn’t on the line after that, it certainly ought to be, and either way, how hosed would the guy who actually makes trades feel by Kane’s actions after supporting that idiot? Exactly.
How about coach Joel Quenneville? We’re talking about a player whose initials are P.K. but penalty killing is the last place you’d put Kane. I have no idea if Quenneville gets the irony, but he certainly knows he can’t trust Kane defensively. He also certainly knows Kane isn’t a center, not after that disaster of a playoff series with zero goals and barely more faceoff wins. Center is the wrong place for Kane, but Quenneville’s boss is telling the world otherwise. You could understand if Quenneville wanted Kane traded just to stop this suicide mission.
Then, finally, there are Kane’s teammates. They’d have their reasons for wanting Kane in another sweater. Players know who battles along the boards and they know who gets paid what. It’s pretty easy to imagine Hawks players resenting Kane in those two areas. Kane’s teammates know he scores big goals. Well, he USED TO score big goals. Since Kane scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 2010, he has scored exactly one goal in 13 playoff games. For those of you keeping score at home, that would be as many goals as embarrassing Cinco de Mayo pictorials. You don’t think Kane’s teammates are looking at each other and wondering how a guy gets so much money when he’s not a money player?
See? Everyone at the Madhouse on Madison would have a reason for wanting to be rid of Kane. The reasons would be legit, too, more legit than Kane playing center.
So, maybe the Hawks’ silence isn’t because they’re hoping this goes away but because they’re fighting to see who gets the honor of making the problem child go away.
There’s a rule in hockey that resounds from the dressing room out: Your best players have to be your leaders and your leaders have to be your best players. Kane is hardly a leader. There’s no reason to trust him.
And yet, he’s still here.
The silence from Hawks wonks tells me they think Kane is guilty. Their inertia tells me they don’t know what to do or how to trade him.
It’s obvious the Hawks can’t trust Kane, but if he’s not traded, how can fans trust the organI-zation?
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