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Chicago Blackhawks: Let’s Focus On Hockey

By Gail Kauchak

To say the Chicago Blackhawks’ training camp didn’t start off well is a HUGE understatement. The Thursday afternoon press conference to address the Patrick Kane rape investigation was a disaster, with Kane reading from a script and looking utterly defeated. John McDonough tried to put a positive rah-rah “for a new season” spin on things, when it was completely inappropriate to do so. All in all, everyone looked like idiots.

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“Why are they supporting him? Why are they supporting him?!” This is what kept going through my head all Thursday night. Even if he is innocent, look at what he has brought upon this once so proud team. The 2015 Stanley Cup champions are reduced to a media circus where nobody even wants to talk about hockey.

As a female fan, it’s very hard to come to terms with this. How can I be a Chicago Blackhawks fan when the team appears to be more concerned with winning than getting to the bottom of a horrible situation?

I know, I know. Kane is innocent until proven guilty of any crime. But the Chicago Blackhawks have an image that they have worked very hard for, and this just goes against all of that. What if he is found guilty? Then the organization takes the fall right along with him. Even if a settlement is reached, there will always be that nagging doubt that a rich athlete was able to buy himself out of trouble. Why don’t they see this and distance themselves from it? Is money and winning more important than doing the right thing?

“If the Blackhawks really respected the process, the severity of the allegations, the opinions of their fans and the intelligence of public at large, Kane would be sitting at home in western New York right now,” Sports News’ Sean Gentille said.

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  • And what about his teammates? His teammates don’t want to have to deal with any of this. It’s very unfair to put them in a situation where they have to take sides and choose their words carefully. All they want to do is play hockey. If you ask me, Kane is being incredibly selfish. Although, in his defense, this might be Kane’s crazy way of trying to make it up to his teammates. The one thing he has always done well is play hockey. I’m sure he wants to get  back on the ice  and show how he will help the team win.

    In the meantime, my girlfriend texted me that she had bought us tickets to the Training Camp Festival night. I half-heartedly agreed, but remained incredibly depressed and seriously considered calling the whole thing off.

    Then Friday rolled around, and I woke up with the fleeting thought that it was pretty nice Brent Seabrook got named alternate captain. This is the man who talked seemingly perfect captain Jonathan Toews off a cliff when he had pretty much lost his composure during the 2013 Detroit Red Wings playoff series. “Job well done, Seabs!  You deserve this”, I thought. And contract extension rumors, too. A positive amidst all the muck!

    So training camp activities commenced, and Kane got a standing ovation and cheers when he took the ice. Sigh. But then a funny thing happened. Hockey took over. Marko Dano was paired with Toews and Marian Hossa. As the weekend progressed, this line continued, and Dano thrived. On Saturday, he scored three goals, and topped it off with another one on Sunday.  Both Toews and Hossa had good things to say about their potential new, young linemate. Dano seemed pretty excited to be paired with them as well.

    Another line of Teuvo Teravainen, and Russians Artemi Panarin and Viktor Tikhonov emerged.  The trio seems to have some great chemistry already. With Tikhonov interpreting, Panarin talked about being in camp so far. When asked about playing with Teravainen, he was able to say in English, “Very nice.”

    On Sunday, Teravainen wasn’t able to score on several chances against Corey Crawford.  Afterwards, our favorite Baby TT joked, “I just wanted to make him look good”.  If that doesn’t make you laugh, I’m not sure what does.

    Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago reported that Trevor van Riemsdyk was at practice, and smiling as usual. Now how can you turn your back on that?  On the last day of camp, van Riemsdyk spent some time on the ice with Duncan Keith.  Duncs was very complimentary of him.

    In more interviews, Marian Hossa joked that fellow Slovak Radovan Bondra was born in 1997. That was the same year that Hossa was drafted.  God bless dear “old” Marian Hossa!

    Here is a very interesting article about how head coach Joel Quenneville is now tasked with getting the players to focus and get ready for the season. This is very true. McDonough and Stan Bowman may run things in the offseason, but now it’s Coach Q’s turn. He is the one that needs to get the Blackhawks to buckle down and focus on hockey. Good luck, Joel!  It’s going to be a rough road ahead. But that’s ultimately what we’re here for, folks: hockey.

    Well, Patrick Kane. John McDonough. The rest of the Blackhawks brass. You can’t take this away from me. I refuse to give you the power to take away something I love. Your situation is very sad. And I know I’m not done with it yet, because of course I will follow along, and be drawn into whatever the outcome may be. But right now, I really don’t care.

    So I will go to the Festival night tonight and I will cheer for the Chicago Blackhawks. Will I cheer for Kane? Honestly, no I will not. But it wasn’t my choice for him to remain on the team. It IS my choice that I will focus on the other exciting storylines evolving out of camp. I choose to focus on the positive. Focus on the hockey.

    It might not always be easy. It’s going to be bumpy and emotional ride. But I think it can be done. I hope it can be done.  Are you with me, Blackhawks fans? Go ’Hawks!

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