For the second time in four seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to hoist the hardest trophy to earn in the world, the NHL’s Stanley Cup. And for the second time in four years, Patrick Kane came through when his team needed him the most. This time, he was rewarded by receiving the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.
Kane means more to the Blackhawks than most people understand. On a line with Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell, Kane earned the nickname “benefish”, or beneficiary. The goals came to Kane while Toews was winning hard fought board battles and Bickell was parked in front of the net battling with the likes of Zdeno Chara.
But to discredit Kane is to not appreciate what he brings to a line, a game, or a team. On the line, he spreads the ice and provides an elite level of puck-handling and patience. Seven of Kane’s nine playoff goals came on a line with Bickell and Toews, kick-starting his run to the playoff’s MVP.
Kane’s relentless ability to shoot from every conceivable angle was a catalyst once put on the top line. The Blackhawks certainly would not have been playing with the same confidence during the Stanley Cup if Kane did not score a hat trick during Game 6 against The Los Angeles Kings.
Spacing would be a key against the Boston Bruins and their phenomenal defense. While Toews was still smothered and Bickell’s size restrained, Kane still shined, able to find crevices in the defense by playing an incredibly intelligent game.
In the locker room, Kane’s ability to play well with Toews will only be beneficial. With astounding hands and a game that is continually evolving, Kane finds himself ready to step into a locker room role. Toews, also known as Captain Serious, is an absolutely phenomenal captain. But Kane’s attitude and repertoire makes young players, especially American players, gravitate towards him.
The Chicago Blackhawks would not have won the Stanley Cup without Patrick Kane. His performances late in the playoffs were outstanding, and they were certainly the type of performances fans can look to see out of Kane for a while to come.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486