Patrick Kane. Playing in Switzerland.
Five words that sparked images of a passed-out hockey player in a New York Yankees cap getting dragged out of a pub. Or of anonymous emails from local women to Deadspin, with photos of Kane's American passport attached as evidence of a dalliance.
And yet … nothing salacious has occurred during the Chicago Blackhawks star's stint with HC Biel, unless you consider those odd chaps he wore while getting powerlifted by a Swiss wrestler to be salacious. His lone Deadspin clip (thus far) involved an awkward Photoshopping of his profile pic.
What happened to our boy? To the cool 24-year-old bro that wore a shirt with an image of him shirtless during a weekend of debauchery in Madison?
Mom happened. That's what.
Please recall that Kane brought his mother along with him to Switzerland, who went over and got him settled in and then lived with her son while the Blackhawks are locked out by the NHL.
How was the Swiss life with Mama Kane? Joshua Robinson of the Wall Street Journal went to Biel and found out.
"When I got here, I was like, 'There's just no way,'" Donna Kane told the WSJ. "I cook for him every day. There's only like five stations on television. There's not much really to do. It's kind of lonely."
Robinson writes that Kane and his mother lived in a 3-bedroom apartment "on the edge of the forest" near the team's rink. They brought three suitcases to Biel, including one containing "cereal bars, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, a raft of bestselling novels and, of course, a book about Tim Tebow."
With mom there, Kane's life has been … saintly. From the WSJ:
In Biel with his mother, he has been a homebody. Most evenings after practice, they stay in and watch movies or American television shows on a laptop. Even on days off, he barely leaves the place, and that is mainly to work out at the arena. Donna finds it challenging to stave off boredom—she hardly knows anyone here and her husband and three daughters are back home in Buffalo. But for now she sees it as part of her job as a hockey mom.
It's a small price to pay for someone used to seeing her son play in person more than 40 times a year. For home games, she drives him to the rink before going into the stands across from Biel's bench. She watches from the edge of her seat, texting updates home to Buffalo with every goal.
Granted, this existence does nothing to feed to TMZ beast, but it also makes us feel really good about Patrick Kane. Here's a boundlessly talented player with a personality the NHL needs — especially in the U.S. — who has had some youthful indiscretions and admitted mistakes.
Give him credit: This could have become a month of tabloid fodder. Instead, it's a rather heartwarming story about a hockey mom and her superstar son.
Of course, Kane's back in the U.S. now, so …
s/t Wayne from Tuskegee