Trevor Block – Indy Writer
Chicago, IL – It’s no surprise that Patrick Kane is playing superstar caliber hockey in the beginning stages of this year’s NHL season. Right…?
Most players who enter the new season playing well had a strong offseason and prepared themselves adequately for the coming months. Patrick Kane? Wouldn’t exactly call his offseason strong, although it’s not like anyone would know, as there were rarely reports of how his offseason hockey-related activities were going. That information got buried beneath legal documents and court proceedings.
The rape accusations against Patrick Kane this offseason filled a lull in media coverage between the Blackhawks retooling their roster and the start of the regular season. Kane had been accused of bringing a girl back to his Buffalo home and overpowering her while alone in a room. The details of the story are still murky, clouding any confidence in one side of the story. Whether Kane is guilty or not no longer matters, considering we will most likely never know. However, Kane should view this as a second (second) chance. As a professional in anything, it is your duty to keep yourself in a positive light and avoid potentially distracting scenarios. Kane would do well to avoid such scenarios in the future.
Beyond all of that, Kane has been arguably the best player on the ice every game so far this season. The offseason question of whether Kane will be too distracted to play up to his standards this year has been answered.
No doubt Number 88 passes the eye test, but if you can’t appreciate his brilliance in real time, here are some positions Kane currently holds among NHL players:
- First in total goals (13)
- Tied for third in total assists (15)
- First in points (28)
- First in +/- (+14)
- Tied for first in power play goals (6)
- Tied for first in game winning goals (4)
- First in goals per game (.72)
- Second in points per game (1.56)
- Currently on a 13 game point streak (1 short of career best)
- Currently on a 7 game goal streak (Longest Blackhawk goal streak in 20 years)
Kane has established himself as the most productive player in the NHL so far this year. Though, credit has to be given to Dallas’s Tyler Seguin, who is beating Kane in total assists and only two behind in points.
Team chemistry, more specifically line chemistry, is undoubtedly related to a hockey team’s success. That goes for almost any sport. Players who play well together make the team better. It’s simple. Chemistry develops over time when players begin to learn their teammates’ tendencies, personalities, and habits. So then how the hell is Patrick Kane doing so well? He shares a line with two brand new Blackhawk players: rookie Artemi Panarin and newly acquired Artem Anisimov. The three have had only one offseason, which was fairly busy for Kane, to learn each other’s playing styles. Kane has spent roughly 60 percent of his ice time with Anisimov and Panarin so far this season.
It does help that Anisimov is a skilled veteran and Panarin, though technically a rookie, has professional experience in Russia. Panarin exists as yet another example of the capability of the Blackhawks’ front office to acquire game-changing players through different channels.
Panarin’s status as a rookie comes under question quite frequently when mentioning his standing among the other NHL rookies. Panarin currently leads all NHL rookies in points (18) and assists (12) (obligatory “without Connor McDavid” notification). Sure he has some extra experience that other rookies don’t. Big deal. The kid, who is only 23, has been superb for the Hawks this season. It should be noted, however, that he is playing with Patrick Kane. Is Panarin a good player with a lot of promise? Yes. Would he be producing as much without Patrick Kane? Absolutely not.
Oh yeah, Kane also has a language barrier to deal with. Panarin is a native of Russia and speaks very broken English.
“I kind of figured out how to speak to him, words he understands,” said Kane.
Language aside, Kane has been letting his play do the talking for him. So far, he hasn’t shut up.
(Featured image retrieved from: “https://usatftw.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/patrick-kane-usp_001.jpg?w=1000&h=600&crop=1“)