August 17, 2009
Before Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane(notes) made his perfunctory statement at Olympic orientation camp this morning on last week's assault charges involving a Buffalo cab driver, the video feed from Fox Chicago focused on the podium where USA Hockey logos were prominently placed.
In other words, the first image from Team USA's dubious push for Olympic glory next winter was that of Kane, one of its brightest young stars, "sincerely apologizing" for an immature lapse in judgment. It was either a completely frustrating or ironically symbolic moment for the fledgling program.
For Kane, it was an all-too-brief statement that had been prepared, massaged and vetted well before he strode to the podium with a stoic expression that followed him through a side door and away from the media room moments later. As far as candor goes, Kane made Michael Vick on "60 Minutes" look like Kathy Griffin.
He spoke for 55 seconds after the press conference was delayed for about an hour due to local traffic jams. (For the record, you jokers: He took a team bus to the event.)
Here's 20-Cent's statement to the media today:
"Hello everyone. I've been very lucky to achieve every kid's dream of playing in the National Hockey League, let alone for a great organization like the Chicago Blackhawks. Now I also have a chance to play for my country; a dream come true for myself and also my parents. I know everyone wants to talk about what happened in Buffalo. As you know, the legal proceedings are pending and as you know I cannot discuss the details at this time.
"Because I put myself in being in the wrong position in the wrong time, I've caused a lot of pain for my family, my hometown of Buffalo, the city of Chicago, the Chicago Blackhawks and obviously the great fans we have here in Chicago. And for that part, I sincerely apologize. Now it's time for me to move forward. I'm excited to get back to the ice and represent the Chicago Blackhawks and the United States Olympic Hockey Team. Thank you."
With that, USA Hockey attempted to quiet the Kane talk during this week's camp. Well, save for Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke getting in his shots at the media, of course.
After Kane departed, USA Hockey director of communications Dave Fischer attempted to make the scandal off-limits during the three-day camp just outside of Chicago:
"Obviously, throughout the course of the three days, he will be available to the media with the condition that the topic not be anything about that because he can't comment on it, as you understand. Our players cannot comment on it, our management team ... if you'd respect that, you can all appreciate that until the legal proceedings get wrapped up in the near future."
Burke, however, had a few more comments to get in during his turn at the mic, telling the media to ask their questions now because "we're not talking about Patrick Kane after we leave here."
He said the situation hasn't affected his judgment of Kane as a member of the 2010 USA Hockey squad, although he deflected questions that asked him to speculate on Kane's status depending on what a grand jury decides to do with the case.
Burke was steadfast, however, that Kane was a victim of circumstance: "I think it's possible for a young man to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said, adding that "when I was Patrick Kane's age, I did a couple of things I wouldn't want to talk about up here."
Mostly, Burke chastised the media for making the Kane affair into front-page news, although he would couch the comments with claims that he wasn't "trying to scold" them. Which of course he totally was.
So the Olympic camp rolls on, completely overshadowed by this off-ice incident. Hey, if nothing else, at least we're not talking about the damn insurance coverage anymore. But it would be nice to have some proper Olympic debates instead of having to hear Tim Thomas'(notes) thoughts on cab etiquette or some such.