Chicago, IL — When you look at Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane you don’t necessarily see an intimidating, imposing threatening presence yet that is exactly what he has become on the ice. As we all should know looks can be deceiving and one should never judge a book by its cover. NHL players are beginning to learn this truth every time they face number 88 with the Indianhead jersey. When he is on the ice, now he seems to command the attention of the opposition’s players.
It is not just the NHL who is finding this out. Patrick Kane from a young age was told by others he was too small or not tough enough to play hockey. He was told he would not survive against bigger children or if they were allowed to check him he would be exposed by his lack of size. Thank heavens young Kane and his parents didn’t listen to the detractors.
Didn’t Mark Twain say it best “It’s not the size of the dog in a fight but the size of the fight inside the dog” or something like that. Patrick Kane is a model for every kid out there who is told everything they are not and why they won’t make it. What people failed to see was everything Patrick Kane is and could be. Never once do you hear equated with Kane grit and tenacity but those qualities are exactly what have gotten him to the NHL and atop the NHL. Every step of the way Kane has gone against the odds and come out not only winning but hitting the jackpot.
From a young age Kane possessed a talent and a skill very few even dream about. He is so skilled with the puck and puck movement that it doesn’t matter what his size and strength is he can finesse the puck away from opponents without having to overpower them or use his muscle. He uses his magic hands and wrists instead of brawn. Even I’m awed as a Blackhawks fan when watching the games, how he will go into a corner or be along the boards with two sometimes three opposing much bigger players all checking him and yet he is the one who comes away with the puck more times than not.
I remember reading something in an article that Kane’s dad said when he was playing youth hockey in Buffalo young Kane was so far ahead of the other children their parents complained and Kane was forced into playing with older boys. This probably prepared young Patrick for the NHL because in the long run he learned to play against others bigger than him in size. Now it seems it is no obstacle for him at all instead I think he likes the challenge.
There has been plenty of criticism of Kane not being serious or partying too much off the ice. Let me just say this if Patrick Kane didn’t take hockey seriously he would not have been spending all those hours in rinks practicing and leaving the security and comforts of home at age 14. While he has god give talent he also I’m sure honed it. He did not one day magically have the ability to stick handle and have the vision he has without long hours of practice and working on his hockey I.Q.
Kanes’ demeanor is no different from any other child who plays on a playground. The only difference is his playground is in the NHL and most of the time in Chicago’s United Center but that is another thing that makes Kane so endearing. You can tell he loves the game and enjoys playing every time he steps on the ice. He plays hockey as though he was still a child playing in a small rink in a small town. It’s as though the opposing NHL’s talent, 21,000 fans, camera’s, media, bright lights and big city don’t matter to Patrick it’s all the same – Hockey.
Most young 18 year olds would probably shrivel up in a big market like Chicago with all of the media scrutiny and pressures of reviving a once proud original six organization like the Chicago Blackhawks but not Kane. For Kane though it always seems like the spotlight and center stage is never big enough for him or for his talents to be showcased. In fact they diminish is size while he becomes larger. I have not even mentioned he was the one who scored the game winning goal in OT to bring the Stanley Cup to Chicago after a 49 year drought. Talk about big stages and pressures but Kane knows he has an advantage.
His moves are so masterful with the puck that he is like a Picasso only with a hockey stick instead of a paint brush. Kane has great vision on the ice. There are so many times he sees things others simply do not and we are talking NHL talents here that he is facing who are all gifted in their own rights. This vision gives Kane a unique skill along with his stick handling magical hands that few have. All you have to do is watch the Blackhawks game versus the Anaheim Ducks on 10/25/11 when he did a spin-o-rama pass to Marian Hossa that was just sick. I don’t even know how he saw Hossa, but that is Patrick Kane night in and night out.
The other night I was watching as was most hockey fans in Chicago when Kane came up with another brilliant move in the shoot out against poor Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstom. He put so many moves on him I think he is still looking for which way Kane was going to go. If you have not seen this, go youtube it. While we all marvel at these moves he just looks at it I’m sure like – ok that was fun but let me see what else I can come up with which makes him an artist on ice. In a post game interview he said he didn’t even think it was that difficult.
Entertainer, artist, visionary, playmaker or hockey player extraordinaire whatever you want to call him, Kane is anything but small as there is no stage seemingly large enough for him. Chicago is a city that has been very fortunate to witness great athletes. Payton, Jordan, Hull to name a few but maybe even luckier because with Kane only being 23 years old we may be seeing one of the greatest artists to ever put on a pair of skates.
Personally I’m enjoying the show he puts on every night and can’t wait for him to come up with another creative masterpiece on ice. Will it be of a classical style like Rembrandt, modernism movement like Picasso, surreal like Dali, impressionist like Monet or expressionism like a Kandinski? So just go ahead tell Patrick Kane he can’t do something – I dare you.