When Chicago Tribune sports columnist Steve Rosenbloom heard about Patrick Kane signing with EHC Biel in Switzerland, he thought it was a good idea to remind readers of a few things.
“In Switzerland, public consumption of alcohol is legal,” Rosenbloom said in a short video on Wednesday. “And Patrick Kane is all about public consumption of alcohol.” He went on to say that in Switzerland, Kane would be “without parents [and] without [Chicago] Blackhawks daycare centers” and said he would be “all alone on a European vacation.”
By the way, Rosenbloom got two things wrong: Kane’s mother is going to Biel with him, and the lockout doesn’t allow “Blackhawks daycare centers,” whatever they are.
Rosenbloom’s words really irritated me. I’m a Blackhawks fan and a Kane fan in particular. While it’s embarrassing to know that he’s had past trouble with the law and is known to drink, I don’t let it color my perception of him beyond the fact the he is, in fact, a human being and 23 years old. Human beings do things that are stupid and/or embarrassing. Find me someone who hasn’t done anything remotely one or the other. I’m sure Rosenbloom has his bias, but he’s wrong to stereotype Kane based on past behavior.
Rosenbloom mentioned the incident in Madison, Wisconsin this past May, in which Kane was drinking during the Mifflin Street Block Party. I felt secondhand embarrassment for him, and God knows after seeing all those pictures and the Deadspin coverage they brought, the talking-to he got from Blackhawks brass, and of course his parents’ reaction, I’m sure he felt like crawling into a hole for a while.
I think that was a wake-up call for Kane. It wasn’t as bad as the cab driver incident in 2009, which almost resulted in jail time, but it could’ve been if all the stories Deadspin posted were actually true (someone followed up and found that the worst ones were either fabrications or just blown out of proportion). I watched Kane’s pre-Convention press conference in July, and he was remorseful, pledging to straighten up his act because it not only reflects on him, but the Blackhawks organization, his family and his fans. I think it really hurt him to see how his actions hurt those around him.
This won’t be a “vacation” for him by any means. He won’t be making much – just enough to cover insurance plus a bit extra. He’s playing for a team in a city that’s officially bilingual in German and French, and to my knowledge he speaks neither. He could be injured while he’s there (it’s happened to other players already). He’s going there to keep sharp on his game, to work out the problems he had last season and fix them. His bottom line is to play the sport he loves.
And in the process, Switzerland just might be the place where Patrick Kane begins to awaken into adulthood.