You all know that face. The puppy-eyed sad face on Patrick Kane after losing a heartbreaking game against arch-rivals Canada. He became the face of American frustrations and heartbreak in international hockey. But now, the NHL season is set to restart for Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks, and Kane will have to move past the puppy-face and turn into the feared competitor he is once again.
He’s been given time to rest and recuperate from the Olympic “break,” and he feels he’s ready to go, which is a good attitude to have. Kane has been weighed down by a slump for much of the past almost two months that started in early January and continued on through the Olympics; not even two goals in honor of his grandpa, Donald Kane, were enough to break that slump. It would be tempting to say that Kane’s struggles are the cause of the Blackhawks’ struggles, but the idiom “correlation does not equal causation” comes to mind.
But there has been some suggestions as to why he’s been struggling. For much of January, he was paired up with Michal Handzus. Handzus’ age doesn’t help him much at all and considerably slowed Kane down. The Hawks traded for Peter Regin in order to give Kane some help at center (even though it would probably be a better idea to call up a prospect instead). How Regin will perform with Kane is unknown, because Regin joined the Hawks around the time Kane took a personal leave to attend grandpa Donald’s funeral.
If Kane feels that his game is excellent, then there’s good reason to believe in him. In all fairness to him, he was playing out of his mind during the Olympics and the Bronze Medal game, but only had four assists to account for his tournament. But just like Team USA, the Hawks need Kane to produce goals. That puppy dog face will have to be retired. It’s time for an angry face.