Chicago Blackhawks: Maturity is Yielding Positive Results for Patrick Kane

By Casey Drottar
Dennis Wierzbicki – USA TODAY Sports

A lot has changed over the past year for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane.

Coming off his second Stanley Cup in four years against the Boston Bruins and winning himself a Conn Smythe trophy for good measure, it’s easy to forget how shaky Kane’s path was looking at the end of last season. With his team knocked out of the first round by the Phoenix Coyotes, the young American did what any typical person would do when their summer vacation started early: he went to Madison, Wis., and got trashed.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in a style reminiscent to college fraternities, Kane was spotted by numerous bystanders looking, well, a little out of it. Before he knew it, Deadspin had posted a colorful collage of his weekend. Other than helping him figure out exactly what happened over that weekend, the pictures didn’t do Kane much good.

As is well documented, Kane has had more than a few issues such as this in his past. Along with barely being able to stand at the Blackhawks’ Cup parade in 2010, he also was arrested for punching a cab driver in Buffalo in 2009.

So last year, when team management was looking through pictures of Kane passed out at (and on) a bar or shirtless in a limo, there were rumblings that his time in Chicago might be coming to an end.

However, after becoming a party icon in Wisconsin, he began getting his life back in order. In an interview with CSN Chicago during the Blackhawks fan convention a few days ago, Kane discussed how thankful he was for both teammates and family members sticking with him during these dark days, even choking back tears at times.

“I think a lot of people helped,” he said. “First and foremost, my parents were huge during it. And I’m sure they’re disappointed when their kid goes through something like that.”

When you think about it, it’s actually quite shocking the Cinco de Mayo incident was the last hiccup for Kane. Despite playing overseas during the NHL lockout, he made zero cameos on anything gossip related. Things remained the same when he returned to Chicago once the lockout was lifted.

No athlete wants to see photographic evidence that they may be drinking themselves out of a career, so kudos for Kane on realizing things needed to change. Life as one of the most recognizable hockey players in the league is sure to bring a few free rounds any time you’re out in public.

As a result, cleaning his life up resulted in a bounce-back season, a Stanley Cup championship and a Conn Smythe award. You’d like to think that’d be enough evidence that the straight and narrow is not so bad.

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook.

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