All Time Blackhawks

Celebrating Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane’s Legacy In NHL

By Matt Morrow
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 15: Patrick Kane
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 15: Patrick Kane /
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CHICAGOOOOO!!!! I think its fitting to begin this tribute to Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane the same way he began his speech at all three Stanley Cup rallies.

Today, 29 years ago (he’s HOW old?), the greatest U.S. born hockey player of all time was born in Buffalo, N.Y. That would be Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Isn’t it crazy that he’s a seasoned vet now, with this being his 11th NHL season? I always seem to think Kane and Jonathan Toews are still the young guys they were in 2009. But, it also makes me wonder, will we be having that same conversation in 10 more years about players like Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman and Alex DeBrincat?

Today, we celebrate what Kane has done for this city over the past 11 years, since he was picked first overall in the 2007 NHL Draft. To this date, he has played 760 regular-season games, amassing an astonishing 1.01 points per game.

This breaks down to 291 goals and 480 assists, for 771 points. His body has taken an additional 127 games of beating in the playoffs, during which he has amassed 0.97 points a game and 50 goals. The fact you can count on him, on average, for roughly a point per game in the playoffs speaks for itself.

Kane’s early NHL years

He and Toews almost led the team to the playoffs in both players’ first season, and they were able to do it in the second. They haven’t missed the playoffs since, as we know. Notably, they advanced to the Western Conference finals and took their big brother, the Detroit Red Wings, to five games. Kane had many memorable moments that postseason, but for myself, none are more memorable than this one:

I mean, come on. Even attempting a shot like that takes guts. This is a kid in his first postseason ever, roofing a backhand shot at that angle, on a goaltending legend in

Chris Osgood

. Does it get much better than that? Side note: This game was played on Versus. Remember that network? That in itself tells you how old this clip is.

I’m sure the favorite memory of others from that playoff run came in Game 6 of the conference semifinals against the Canucks, with the game in which Kane proved to the world he was going to be a special player. In a six-goal third period of a 7-5 win and series clincher, Kane completed his first NHL hat trick against the onetime hated Vancouver Canucks.

You guys remember how much fun it was to hate the Canucks? For a while, I used to love games against the Canucks as much as I hated Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler. Nikolai Khabibulin’s celebratory fist pump iced the deal on that playoff series, and from that point on, the rivalry began.

Kane started the next season right where he finished the last one, making goalies look abnormally silly. I don’t know why this goal is often forgotten and overlooked, because it may be one of his best-placed shots of all time.

Seriously. It almost looks like he didn’t even look at the net when he shot. Short side, in and out in a second. Kane has grown into a major Minnesota Wild killer in his day, and that incredible goal is where it all may have started.

When Kane began to receive national attention

That’s a clip from the 2009-10 season, and we all know how that season ended. It wouldn’t be right to ignore Kane’s 2010 postseason when discussing his legacy. It started in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against Nashville, when his shorthanded goal tied the game with just seconds remaining.

As we all know, it ended in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Philadelphia. Kane ended the Blackhawks’ 49-year Stanley Cup drought by scoring the winning goal in overtime.  Had he never played an NHL game after that one, he still would have been forever remembered in Chicago. Little did we know at that time that was just the beginning.

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It didn’t take him long to reach legendary status in the city of Chicago, winning the Cup in his third full season in the league. This is proven through the comments of Jim Koehlers, United Center general manager, in 2011 when he referenced Kane someday getting a statue outside of the United Center, similar to what Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita have now.  This remark was made during Kane’s fourth full season in the league.

His love for the game and his desire to always improve has shaped him into the performer that he is today, and a quote by Kane from the above article explains that perfectly:

"“If I’m one of the best players in the league, I want to become better,” he says. “And I have a different version of what that might mean. I’d be lying if I told you goals and assists aren’t important, but it’s more than that. I want to be more consistent, more dominant, better at takeaways and on power plays, better in my own end, better at controlling the game when I have the puck.”"

The fact that such an offensive powerhouse mentioned the 200-foot game and the little things shows you that he wanted to become a more all-around player, and in years following this quote, we saw him do just that.

After he scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in overtime in 2010, many wondered what more Kane could do to add to his playoff and Stanley Cup legacy. His next legacy stamp came in 2013. That playoff run for Kane consisted of a notable drought, one that ended in the conference finals against the Kings.

In the second overtime of Game 5 against the Kings, his one-timer goal not only completed the hat trick, but sent the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final. Promptly, Kane followed it up with one of the most memorable goal celebrations of his career.

That year, after the Blackhawks’ historic two goals in 17 seconds,

Kane was given the Conn Smythe Trophy

, naming him the playoff MVP. We got to see Kane’s brewing confidence in this series as well, where on multiple occasions

Kane would chirp Brad Marchand

, and then make Marchand eat his words.

Earlier in that season, The Hockey News started to recognize Kane’s superstar status and wrote this about him (including a clip of yet another incredible backhand shot).

As expected, he kept it up yet again the next season, during which he acquired his new nickname, “Showtime,” because of this goal:

For one, how incredibly sick is that? His backhand is on another level, man. I’d like to point out that this is yet another beauty of a goal against the Minnesota Wild. And I’m not even including

the most famous shootout goal of his career,

or when he

ended a series against them in overtime

.

But also, how accurate is that nickname. To me, Showtime reminds me of a person who loves the spotlight, always rises to the occasion and can seemingly take over a game with the flip of a switch. Who does that remind you of?

I remember countless games in which Kane all of a sudden reached another level and just took the game over on his own. Something in his head clicked and he decided to outskate everyone all the way down to the offensive zone, put on a stickhandling clinic and then score. And nobody could stop him. That’s vintage Kane, and that’s the Kane I’ll be telling my grandkids about some day.

One last Cup?

The next Kane moment that really sticks out in my mind is the one goal that I’ll probably never forget until the day I die. I honest to god can replay the image of this entire goal in my head.

I remember where I was when it happened, who I was with and what my reaction was. I don’t know if it was because they had a chance to win the Cup at home for the first time in the Kane-Toews era, or if it was because he hadn’t scored yet in the Final.

It might have been because of how pretty a play it was, or maybe it was because of the celly he followed it up with. Something about this goal, I can’t explain it.

Brandon Saad carried the puck up the ice and drop-passed to Brad Richards. Richards made all $1 million of his contract worth it on the fake shot and eventual pass to Kane. One-timer and a goal at the biggest moment, on the biggest stage, followed up by a vintage Kane celly. This one is going to be replayed for years to come:

It may have even been because that all but cemented the Blackhawks’ third Cup in six years, and what could have been their fourth had

Alec Martinez

’s shot not went off

Nick Leddy

’s shoulder pads during overtime of Game 7 in the previous year’s conference finals.

It was the day of Kane’s above goal and celebration that Commissioner Gary Bettman, on United Center ice in front of 22,000-plus strong, declared this Blackhawks group a dynasty.

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Playoff disappointment

You can’t talk about the legacy of Kane without at least referencing his troubled past, and in the season following that Stanley Cup win, that reached an all-time high. Kane was booed by many opposing fan bases for the rest of the 2015-16 season after being accused of sexual assault.

One extremely defiant regular-season moment in his career came while he was being booed by an opposing fan base, in his hometown of Buffalo. This was surprising, as he usually had a really positive reception when playing there.

With 34 seconds left in the game, Kane tied it and immediately bolted to the boards, where he celebrated with a ‘Hawks fan along the glass, and then his teammates. Then, in the shootout, surrounded by loud and continuous boos, Kane scored the game-winning goal, placing a backhand shot top shelf. You can check out his late-game heroics here.

People can say what they want about Kane and his troubled past, but he has matured a lot since his entrance to the league, and he has turned into a model athlete. From giving up his seat on a plane to participating in Blackhawks charity events and visiting local hospitals, the maturity has really shown, and you can tell he is trying to recreate his image.

That season ended in disappointment, with the Blackhawks losing to the Blues in seven games. But with every playoff series seemingly comes a major Kane highlight, and this series was no different.

With the game and series on the line, Kane did what does best, undressing all five Blues on the ice, scoring a double-overtime goal to keep the series alive and finishing it off with a vintage Kane celly. So you can relive the adrenaline of that night:

When discussing that season though, its hard not to talk about the season Kane had. He hit career highs in goals, assists and points, amassing 46 goals and 106 points. Not only was he the league’s top scorer, he was also the first American-born player to win the Hart Trophy, given to the league MVP.

The following season also ended in playoff disappointment, but you can’t write a post about the greatness of Kane and not include one of his greatest goals ever! Enjoy:

I know I’ve left out some big Kane moments and phenomenal plays, but this to me seems like the best tribute possible to a guy that helped make hockey relevant again in Chicago. Over the years he has often played with changing linemates, in different positions, in different roles, with the one common thing between all of that being his production. He’s still at the top of his game, but for how long that lasts we won’t know.

While he has provided us with many memories over the past 11 years, he will (hopefully) be the catalyst for many more memories in the near future. I would be completely content with one more Cup out of this group, and only one. I believe they can do it, too.

But as we’ve seen with the recent downfall in the play of Brent Seabrook for example, players start to decline eventually. This serves as a reminder to make sure to really enjoy watching him work his magic while he still plays, because someday he’ll have to hang them up, and like we saw with the Marian Hossa case, that could happen at any time.

Next: Crow Goes Down, Returns, Leads Way In Win

With that, I’ll leave you with the best Kane highlight video I’ve ever came across, which can be found here.

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