March 23, 2023

In some ways, it doesn’t seem all that long ago that the Chicago Blackhawks selected Patrick Kane with the first overall pick back in 2007, though a lot has happened since. The now 33-year-old has been instrumental in helping the organization win three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He has won plenty of individual hardware as well, including but not limited to a Conn Smythe, Hart and Art Ross Trophy.

Related: Blackhawks 4 Untouchable Prospects for 2022-23

With 1,180 points in 1,107 career games, Kane has not only been one of the best players of this era but is arguably the greatest American-born hockey player of all time. Despite all his success, however, there are still things many aren’t aware of regarding the superstar winger. With that said, here are four cool things about Kane.

Appeared on First Hockey Card at Age 6

For many kids growing up, one of their biggest dreams is to one day appear on a hockey card. That dream doesn’t become a reality for most, and if it does, it comes at a much older age. That is, of course, unless you’re Kane.

Patrick Kane with 269 career goals is now tied with Sylvain Turgeon, whose card young Kane appeared on in the 90’s (upper right)

At just six years old, Kane appeared on his first ever hockey card, though not as a player. Attending a Buffalo Sabres game with his dad during the 1994-95 season, Kane can be seen on his father’s lap appearing to laugh at a collision between Dale Hawerchuk and Ottawa Senators forward Sylvain Turgeon. Sylvain himself is amused by the card, once remarking that it has “pretty good value” given that Kane appears in the background. (from ‘Paul Skrbina: See Patrick Kane’s first hockey card, when he was 6’, Chicago Tribune, 1/27/18).

Blues Tried to Trade For Him on Draft Day

After winning the 2007 Draft Lottery, the Blackhawks knew weeks ahead of draft day itself that they would be selecting Kane first overall. However, they never let that be known to the public and were taking calls from other teams in regards to trading the first pick. Then-general manager (GM) Dale Tallon said that any offer would have had to blow them out of the water to consider it, and according to some sources, one in particular did garner some discussion (from ‘Jeremy Rutherford: How close did Blues get to trading for Patrick Kane in the 2007 NHL Draft?’, The Athletic, 7/1/22).

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe

After selecting Erik Johnson first overall in 2006, the St. Louis Blues were looking to stock up on young talent in hopes of becoming a contender. They clearly believed Kane would help them in that regard, and offered the Blackhawks a significant haul in order to acquire the first selection.

Now Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who at the time was serving as the director of amateur scouting for the Blues, wouldn’t confirm nor deny what the exact offer was but did admit that they pushed to acquire Kane. One unnamed source for the Blues claims they offered their three first-round picks at that draft which came at No. 9, No. 24 and No. 26 overall, while a Blackhawks source said the offer was two first-rounders as well as 2003 Calder Trophy winner Barret Jackman.

Latest News & Highlights

Regardless of the exact offer, it appears it was a substantial one and one that required some discussion amongst the Blackhawks management team. They rightfully went on to decline the deal and drafted a player in Kane who has gone on to be one of the best players in franchise history.

First American-Born Player to Win Calder Trophy

Despite having a ton of pressure in the early going, it didn’t take Kane much time to get comfortable at the NHL level. In fact, he was quite dominant in his rookie season, scoring 21 goals and a team-leading 72 points in 81 games. With the great year, he was able to edge out teammate Jonathan Toews and Nicklas Backstrom for the Calder Trophy, an award given annually to the league’s top rookie.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Kane’s Calder win was that in doing so, he became the first-ever American-born player to win the award, one that has been given out since 1933. To this day, he is just one of two Americans to have won it, as Auston Matthews was able to become the second in 2017.

Called Power Play Specialist by NHL Opponent

At this stage in his career, you would never hear another NHL opponent bad mouth Kane, as he simply has too much respect throughout the entire league. That wasn’t the case in his early days, however, as proven by former defenseman Willie Mitchell.

During the second round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Mitchell insinuated that Kane was a power play specialist, saying that he couldn’t play five-on-five. Then-GM Scotty Bowman was quick to make Kane aware of the comments, and they sure seemed to set a fire in the young star. He went on to score a hat-trick in a game that stamped the Blackhawks’ ticket to the Western Conference Final and wasn’t shy about calling out Mitchell postgame.

You may also like:

“Any time you get a wake-up call from old Willie Mitchell – he decided to make some comments that fired me up. He said I couldn’t play five-on-five, and I had three goals playing five-on-five tonight, so ask him about that” (from ‘Jason Botchford: Will Bowman run Torres quote to Kane?’, The Province 4/17/11).

Though Mitchell has never said so, it seems likely he regrets making the comments he did. It is clear that whatever he was trying to do backfired, as it clearly lit a fire under Kane and played a big part in the Canucks elimination. Suffice it to say, if Kane is struggling, opposing teams may be best to keep quiet about it in hopes of avoiding waking him up.

Plenty of Great Hockey Left in Him

For many professional athletes, declines in play begin to become evident as they approach their mid-30s. However, Kane, who turns 34 in November, isn’t just any other professional athlete. In 78 games last season on an underwhelming Blackhawks roster, he managed 26 goals and 92 points. That offense should continue on for some time, and will likely increase if he does indeed get traded at some point during the 2022-23 campaign.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.