Since Patrick Kane arrived in 2007-08, he has been the “go-to” guy for the Blackhawks on the ice. Off the ice? It’s no different.
The Blackhawks’ franchise player is still Patrick Kane, to no one’s surprise. He is second in the league in scoring, earned 1,000 points before 1,000 games, played 1K games in the NHL at 32 years old, won individual awards, three Stanley Cups, the list goes on and on.
His play is eye-catching. His poise, slick handling, and unpredictability cause fits for the defense, and his backhand terrorizes goaltenders. He can shoot the puck as well as he can pass the puck, and that has been a coaching nightmare for fourteen years.
His handles open up space for himself, but he also opens up space for his linemate for a one-timer. His skill is undeniable, and it’s a privilege to watch one of the best NHL players in history.
Recently, Kane has made more of an effort to be a team player. He is noticeable on the forecheck, more than he has been in years past. He plays the body and (to me) looks much more competitive than he was before. Despite the very real fact that he should be starting to slow down (a male athlete USUALLY starts to slow down around 30), he seems to get better every year. He does whatever he needs to do to help the team win and sets the example with his play more than his words.
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His value on the ice is known throughout the league, but his value off the ice seems to be just as valuable.
With a bunch of young guys on the Blackhawks, Kane knows that they are watching his every move. He spends time mentoring the prospects, such as that story about how he helped Alex Debrincat‘s handles.
This Blackhawks team has been following their unofficial captain’s example, on the ice and off the ice. He has done an incredible job leading the Blackhawks in Jonathan Toews‘s absence, ensuring every player in that locker room is involved. They had a horrible game against Dallas where they were not ready to play, but hopefully, they come with a better effort to make up for it tonight.
To conclude, Patrick Kane is a generational talent. Since his rookie year, he has been one of the top guys in the league and looks to have gotten better as he got older. His leadership has been center stage as the Blackhawks’ unofficial captain, and the team has been following his lead throughout this surprising season.