Photo Credit: Deadspin

Patrick Kane’s Partying Isn’t a Huge Deal, But His Falling Numbers Are


 

Unless you’ve been stuck on a desert island somewhere for the past couple weeks, you probably already saw Patrick Kane’s latest Deadspin appearance

Our beloved Kaner was caught in several photos severely intoxicated and apparently got into a bit of a tustle with the local authorities. Just a normal day in the life of perhaps Chicago’s biggest young star.

First let me put it on the record: every professional athlete is entitled to have a private life, and is entitled to the same degree of privacy as the rest of us (even though they may not always get it) So with that in mind, I could care less what Kaner does in his spare time, especially in the offseason.

However, I will say that Kane’s repeated antics are becoming/have been a black eye on the Chicago Blackhawks organization, who have invested millions, if not hundreds of millions, over the past several years rebuilding their image into a respectable brand, and most of that has been done around #88.

Every team has players that attract some negative publicity at some point, but I can’t think of another team that can’t get through a summer without having photos of their superstar plastered all over the internet either partially naked and/or stumbling drunk.

Technology is partially to blame. Thanks to camera phones and Twitter, rambunctious athletes like Kane have virtually no privacy.

You can’t ask Kaner to hide out indoors. He is who he is. He’s young, rich, famous and likes to party. As I mentioned earlier, every athlete is entitled to a private life and they can do what they want to do.

With that said, one aspect of being a professional athlete is public image. Your team isn’t just paying you to play for them, they’re paying you to look good, to be a good marketable asset and promote the image and brand of the franchise. So it reflects badly on them when Kaner goes off every summer and becomes the subject of some controversy.

But thats the Blackhawks’ problem to deal with. And if they don’t think its a problem then they won’t address it. Personally, I don’t think it looks good on him or the Hawks, but that’s just my opinion. Honestly, I don’t care all that much.

This brings me to the next section of this post. While I’m not overly concerned with Kaner’s affection of the drink, I am concerned with Kaner’s falling numbers. Let’s have a peak shall we?

2007-2008 – 82 GP 21 G 51 A 72 Pts

2008-2009 – 80 GP 25 G 45 A 70 Pts

2009-2010 – 82 GP 30 G 58 A 88 Pts

2010-2011 – 73 GP 27 G 46 A 73 Pts

2011-2012 – 82 GP 23 G 43 A 66 Pts

Kaner’s 66 points this past season was the lowest of his career. His 23 goals were only worse than his rookie year and his 43 assists were a career low.

People will point to the fact that the Hawks played Kane at center, an unfamiliar position for him, for most of the season. However, looking back Kane racked up most of his points while he was at center. He had 10 points in his first 11 games in October, all of them were played at center. By the time 2012 rolled around, Kane had racked up 35 points, with most of his time being spent at the pivot.

In the latter half of the season, Kane spent more time back at RW, particularly in January and February when things got sour. Kane only had 31 points.

Kaner was shuffled around quite a bit this season, yet his production was relatively consistent throughout the year, despite where he was playing (11 points in October, 13 points in November, 11 points in December, 7 points in January, 10 points in February, 11 points in March, 3 points in April) I don’t have the exact numbers, but judging from these figures it doesn’t look like Kane’s point total at center would be radically different than his point total at RW this season.

While the defense that he spent a lot of time at center this year explains his decreased point total does offer some valid points (such as the defensive responsibilities of a center etc.) I think it is more of an excuse than anything.

I think what we really have to question is: what exactly do we have in Patrick Kane.

He definitely has unparalleled talent. There are probably only a handful of guys in the NHL who can handle and distribute the puck like he can. He’s young, he’s won a championship and he’s proven he can be a gamechanger.

But is Kane becoming the personification of the post-2010 Blackhawks: one Stanley Cup and then an abysmal slide into mediocrity?

At some point we have to ask: is Kane content with being a one and done kind of guy? Is he satisfied with one championship and a career high 88 points? Kane said his goal was to reach 100 points this year, yet he couldnt crack 70. Its nice to have goals, but they’re empty words if the necessary steps are not put into action. And I’ve seen little from Kane the past two seasons to indicate that he can hit 100 points.

I’m not an expert at sports, but I do know that when it comes to young players in any sport you look for trends. Not always statistical, but physical and mental as well, to measure and predict further long term growth. Look at Jonathan Toews. He has continually improved his game each and every year in every possible way: statistically, physically and mentally.

Patrick Kane’s growth on the other hand has either stagnated or actually regressed in some areas over the past few years. What does that tell you?

History has proven that talent is an asset, but unaccompanied by work ethic, determination and desire to succeed, it can often be wasted. I don’t know exactly where Kane is at mentally, or where he wants his game to be. I will take him at his word that he wants to be one of the game’s elite players and I will believe that he has the work ethic and will to do so.

But if those things don’t translate into play on the ice and numbers on the scoresheet, then it won’t mean anything. Combine that with his off-ice antics and the “trade Patrick Kane” camp will grow and grow until it will no longer be considered “stupid” or “ignorant” to propose trading him any more. And who knows, the Blackhawks might find themselves in that camp as well.

Thank you for reading.

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