The Grand Jury is expected to meet next week. The Blackhawks start training camp at the end of this week. Either the league or the Hawks will probably make a decision about Kane before then. As has been said before, many times, Kane has not been charged with a crime at this point. Below is an excerpt from a sports column this weekend.
When you walk around Chicago’s United Center, you’re struck by the greatness in bronze frozen in time just outside the doors. There’s Michael Jordan, of course. But there’s also Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, resplendent in their classic red Blackhawks sweaters.
When the Hawks wrapped up their third Stanley Cup in six years in June, it seemed pretty much a sure bet that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would someday join Hull and Mikita – both in the rafters and on the arena plaza. These are the glory days of the franchise and they were the best days for any player ever produced in Buffalo.
How long ago it seems. It took just two months for Kane to go from future statue subject to pretty clear pariah in the hockey world.
Losing endorsements like being on the cover of a video game is one thing. Getting held off the ice is something else entirely. And that’s where the Blackhawks and the NHL are going to be left with no choice.
The case of the sexual assault allegations against Kane looks like it could be going to a grand jury, although chatter about settlement talks surfaced some last week. Justice is on one schedule and it has to be followed. But hockey has its own schedule and that has to be followed, too.
The Hawks are slated to train for three days at the University of Notre Dame beginning Friday. Their annual Training Camp Festival is Sept. 21 in the United Center, featuring a scrimmage. The crowd is easily expected to be more than 10,000.
Kane can’t be there.
The NHL is already smartly distancing itself from one of its most prominent players. Kane wasn’t part of Tuesday’s kickoff media tour in Toronto, held annually by the league with national outlets and rights holders. The official word, of course, was that players are rotated and this year’s Chicago representatives were Toews and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Duncan Keith. Riiiiight.
But this year’s tour was moved from New York to Toronto to accommodate Wednesday’s World Cup of Hockey unveiling in Air Canada Centre. No offense to former Chicago teammate Brandon Saad of Columbus, Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk or New York Rangers defense standout Ryan McDonagh, but they’re not remotely close to being faces of USA Hockey.
A guy with three Cup rings is. But that aforementioned trio represented Team USA. No Kane. His absence was plainly obvious and chatter in Toronto was that the league and the team could be meeting with Kane as soon as Monday to make a preliminary decision about camp.
A Chicago Sun-Times column last week said Blackhawks President John McDonough was “volcanically outraged” when news of Kane’s latest misstep surfaced. It also said the team immediately dispatched a high-ranking member of its security corps to Buffalo to do its own investigation.
Here’s hoping the team knows the kind of backlash and distractions it would be up against and says to Kane he’s done for now. And if the team doesn’t, Gary Bettman certainly can.