Patrick Sharp did what?
This was an eventually-exhausting “storyline” that played out over the 2014-15 season, while the Blackhawks were busy trying to make one last Stanley Cup run with the old core. Part of that core was Sharp, but he couldn’t dodge some bizarre accusations that season.
Chief among them was that he had slept with teammate Keith’s wife, playing a role in the divorce between the defenseman and his now-ex. This was vehemently denied by Sharp and Keith, and rumors of Sharp being a clubhouse cancer were rebuked by Jonathan Toews and others. Sharp went so far as to threaten legal action against outlets reporting these rumors as fact.
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With all the denial of any behind-the-scenes shenanigans, it became even stranger when the Blackhawks couldn’t find a way to deal a still-valuable Sharp in the 2015 offseason for more than hot garbage. He was eventually sent to Dallas in a deal that, apparently, had to include prized defensive prospect Stephen Johns.
So there’s probably something to this story we’ll never really know, but the entire ordeal was just ugly and made for some nasty rumors.
The Patrick Kane press conference
No, I don’t find Kane’s 2015 offseason to be “strange,” as the term has been used in this post. There was a very specific part of the Kane saga, however, that was just really weird and uncomfortable to deal with.
The Blackhawks had steadfastly defended Kane after rape allegations rolled in, and they wanted to make a truly firm display of their faith in Kane at the team’s first preseason skate in September 2015. Rumors were swirling about whether or not Kane would be asked to stay away from preseason activities as the legal process ran its course, so this was a fairly big deal.
The resulting press conference, however, was just strange. Kane and John McDonough fielded questions, gave very generic answers and pretty much declined to provide answers to any in-depth questions. Quenneville and Toews were interviewed later in the day and provided more brief, awkward responses.
The Blackhawks are typically very calculated with their PR maneuvers — indeed, McDonough even said at the event that allowing Kane at training camp was a “calculated and deliberate” decision — so seeing this event sort of thrown together with everyone kind of shooting nervous glances at one another and not saying much of actual substance was very weird and disconcerting.