If you haven’t heard already, Patrick Kane was named NHL First Star of the Week for his five goals and one assist in three games, which has propelled the Chicago Blackhawks to their amazing 10-0-2 start. He also has 19 points, placing himself between Thomas Vanek and Henrik Zetterberg. That’s some pretty good company.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this general sentiment: “Oh my god, Patrick Kane’s doing so well! He’s changed so much since last season, and I like it!” I knew it would happen when Kane started on his point streak, and it hasn’t let up yet. Frankly, it annoys me. It’s not the general sentiment that I hate, it’s who’s saying it.
Most of the people uttering those words are Blackhawks fans who are truly amazed at Kane’s performance, especially after two seasons of low points and lackluster play. But some who are praising him now weren’t on board with him last season. Those are the people who made unfounded claims that he was an alcoholic and/or called for him to be traded. Two seasons of low performance and a fateful trip to Wisconsin just added to the stereotype-shaped picture of him that they had and instantly became grounds to shove him out the door.
I’d love to know what’s changed their minds about him. Is it that he’s helping the Blackhawks win games? That’s a poor reason, because by the logic they applied to him, Patrick Sharp’s goal slump should be cause for dismissal. Is it because it’s fashionable to cheer for him? Don’t do it for that reason, because that’s incredibly shallow. The fans who’ve stuck by him in his low times will be lumped in with those poseurs and made to look like bandwagoners. These fair-weather fans will probably back off at the first sign of a scoring slump and start their grumbling again.
I’m proud of Kane’s accomplishments so far this season. I just wish the people who were crying for his dismissal last season were sincere about their sudden love for him now. It does a disservice to his fans, and most importantly, to Patrick Kane himself.