Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane is having an MVP-campaign. When compared to other sports, Kane might miss the national spotlight. And that’s A-ok.
By William Chase
Another Chicago Blackhawks game, another Patrick Kane point. Both are about as common an an occurrence as there is.
At least that’s how it seems.
Kane had the 26-game point streak, setting the Chicago Blackhawks record for consecutive games with a point, as well as becoming No. 1 among U.S.-born players with consecutive games with a point.
The best player in the world—yeah, we can give him that title—is having a season for the ages.
We’re not yet at the midway point for the NHL, and Patrick Kane already has 71 points—30 goals, 41 assists. That’s a whole season for really good NHLers. That’s typically a whole season for Kane.
Can’t catch @88PKane. #CHIvsNSH https://t.co/yot8ToJKNc
— NHL (@NHL) January 20, 2016
Kane’s best season was 2008-09, when he posted a then-career high of 30 goals and 88 points.
Seriously, this guy is having a season so good, and unless you live in Chicago, intently follow the NHL or reside with our friends north of the border—Canada—it might feel like Patrick Kane is having a relatively quiet season. From a national media perspective.
Crazy, when considering the monster proportions of Kane’s 2015-16 season.
Imagine something similar happening in the NFL, NBA or MLB. It would be leading SportsCenter, topping every sports network show, television and radio.
So why isn’t that the case with Kane?
Well it’s not really a secret. Forget the sexual assault case Kane was wrapped in prior to the season, and in which he was never charged.
The NHL has been under the radar, even more so since the lockout, the first one, in 2004-05 and then the second, half-season lockout, in 2012-13. Though it seemed comical that one of the four major sports would not be on ESPN anymore following 2004, and virtually reduced to a 30-second tv segment every week, the sport is thriving.
The NHL does well in its own bubble.
In 2007, New York Yankees‘ third baseman Alex Rodriguez put up his own MVP season, hitting home runs at a rate that made the die-hard of fans drop their jaws.
A-Rod put up 14 home runs, and drove in 34 RBIs for New York that April. He had two, 4-game streaks in which he slugged a home run.
This was before any talk clouded A-Rod’s name with steroids, but nonetheless, was no stranger to his own controversies. Later that year he had the “HA” moment in Toronto, and was photographed with a “mysterious blonde,” that, goes without saying, was not his wife.
It’s no secret Alex Rodriguez is a lightning-rod. No matter what he does, he’s in the news.
It’s not as if the NHL being, more in the limelight, or if Kane was talked about even more, would change anything about him or what he’s been doing.
Patrick Kane, named the most recent No. 1 star of the week for the NHL, would be like any player who will tell you it’s good that this accolade or that isn’t talked about. Athletes can use anything to fuel their fire. They’ll just as soon leave all the fodder to the writers to point out things, or make note of the historic numbers.
For instance, do you know how many games Kane has a point in this season? It’d be easier telling you how many games he hasn’t recorded a point:
The answer is seven.
Seven games! The Blackhawks have played 49 games.
Chicago is a premier market, a booming sports town. The Chicago Blackhawks are the defending champions, on the best run of their franchise history—12 straight wins. Imagine LeBron James having his best season. Better yet, imagine him in New York, playing for the Knicks, at The Mecca, Madison Square Garden.
If you thought the LeBron media frenzy was something the past few years, it would be downright nauseating yet.
But let the Chicago Blackhawks skate on, win after win, and superstar, All-Star, potential Hart, Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Art Ross trophy winner Patrick Kane continue to do what he does. Goal after goal, point after point.
He doesn’t care if he leads off SportsCenter every night.
He and the Hawks just want to win.