Blackhawks: Patrick Kane ready to return to normalcy


Blackhawks: Patrick Kane ready to return to normalcy

NEWARK, N.J. – On Thursday the official announcement came, the Erie County District Attorney stating that Patrick Kane would not face criminal charges after a three-month-long rape investigation.

On Friday there was relief, in a way, for the Blackhawks right wing.

“I think I’m more happy for my family and supporters than anyone,” Kane said.

Frank Sedita III released a statement on the Erie County D.A.’s website on Thursday, stating that, “the totality of credible evidence – the proof – does not sufficiently substantiate the complainant’s allegation that she was raped by Patrick Kane.” Kane said repeatedly throughout the investigation that he had done nothing wrong, and that was repeated in his statement on Thursday.

[MORE HAWKS: Patrick Kane won't face charges as rape investigation comes to a close]

On Friday morning, Kane didn’t want to talk about how difficult the last few months have been. He did talk, however, about trying to return to some semblance of normalcy.

“Yeah, that’s the goal, right? That’s the main thing,” Kane said. “But, you know, as far as everything goes, I’m happy I’m playing hockey, I’m happy to be here tonight. It’ll be fun to see some of the Blackhawks fans in the crowd and obviously play another game tonight. Try to do it as normal as possible.”

The NHL is having its own review of the matter, according to a statement released by deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Thursday. Asked if he’s had discussions with the league since that review began, or if he will going forward, Kane said, “I don’t know if that’s right for me to comment on that. So we’ll see.”

Kane’s teammates said Kane, in the room and on the ice, kept the focus on hockey.

“We’re just happy for him that it’s official now, that weight he’s probably been carrying around for a long time now is off his shoulders,” Jonathan Toews said. “He’s done an incredible job of focusing on his team, on himself and his job of playing great hockey, which he’s done so far. It’s hard to imagine the things that would’ve gone through my head or any other players in this room, had they gone through the same situation. He handled it very well and we’re happy he can just continue to focus on hockey and keep helping our team the way he has.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Said coach Joel Queneville, “I think everybody handled it as best we could. Kaner approached it every day coming to the rink, good attitude, his focus was in the right place and he played well. The consistency of his approach helped him through it. As a teammate, I don’t recall anybody ever discussing it or talking about it. It was always business as usual and the focus was on the next game and everyone has [his] own business as well. So it wasn’t the distraction it potentially could have been.”

Whatever Kane felt throughout the investigation, it didn’t appear to affect his game. Kane currently leads the team in goals (eight) and points (18).

“Like I said before, it’s one of those things where it’s kind of been my little getaway to play hockey and enjoy being at the rink. It’s what I love to do, I love being on the ice, I love playing hockey,” Kane said. “So I’m looking forward to getting a chance to keep doing that.”

Check out the Blackhawks reaction to Kane being absolved in the pair of videos below:

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?