An easy way to dominate the headlines in the hockey world is to do something of note anytime in August. The free agency period dies down. Players, team executives and most media are on vacation and fans are taking a short breather until training camp rolls around. There's nothing going on, so when word of Patrick Kane's(notes) arrest for allegedly assauting and robbing a cab driver in his hometown of Buffalo hit yesterday morning (ed. note: Chris Kuc is reporting that the lawyer for the cab driver is saying the incident has been "blown out of proportion"), it blew up and consumed the other headline of the day regarding the Tampa Bay ownership situation.
More questions will be asked leading up to next week's U.S. Olympic summer orientation camp. USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischel has already stated, "Certainly, there is a code of conduct that an Olympian must sign once he becomes an Olympian. But no one is an Olympian at this time. Just a prospect." Much like the Blackhawks, USA Hockey is letting the legal process take its course before any action is taken, if any.
After the jump, some of what's being said in the aftermath of this situation and how it might affect Kane's status in Chicago.
Mike Kiley of Chicago Now writes that Kane's situation might help decide the Blackhawks cap crunch next summer:
"The Hawks, of course, have already said in their prepared statement that they are standing behind Kane. But none of us, including the Hawks, will know for a while if they now only have to focus on re-signing Jonathan Toews(notes) and Duncan Keith(notes) to long-term contracts.
That's probably a stretch, but with the salary cap tight, players such as Kane shouldn't be working at taking themselves out of the picture. He is now under a bigger microscope than ever, although these matters have a way of disappearing as time moves on and having not a scintilla of significance overall."
Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald echoes Kiley's thoughts pointing out that some people believed Kane wasn't going to be back after this season before Sunday's incident:
"If those facts come back and prove Kane guilty of what the Buffalo police allege he did, the Hawks have a huge mess on their hands.
It could lead Kane out of town.
Even before the events of Sunday, there were those with connections to the Hawks who have wondered if Kane was worth keeping considering the money he is likely to command when his contract runs out after this season.
The Hawks must sign Kane, captain Jonathan Toews and star defenseman Duncan Keith next summer. Toews isn't going anywhere, period. And Keith might be the team's most valuable player. You would think Kane is a keeper as well, but maybe things change now."
David Kaplan of Kap's Corner is already taking out his "jump to conclusions" mat and considering Kane guilty:
"How could Kane be this stupid? Everyday we hear stories of athletes getting in trouble and you would think that a young man with the world at his fingertips and a family that is looking out for him and is very involved in his life wouldn't make a mistake like this. Then again, it is another lesson that can be used with our kids on the stupid decisions that people make and the consequences of their actions.
I have heard from many fans at the both the radio and TV stations that I work at who complain that Kane is rude and doesn't sign autographs as much as some fans feel he should. I have heard from various sources in the NHL who seem to think that Kane's success has gone to his head and that he is not as mature as he should be. Immaturity is one thing for a 20 year old but punching a cab driver at 5 am after he didn't have 20 cents in change is entirely another. "
From the Rink's James Mirtle sees a lasting scar on Kane's career if the allegations prove true:
"Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but the optics here are obviously horrible. It's difficult to fathom any excuse for beating a 62-year-old man trying to make a living in the wee hours of the night shuttling young bar stars home.
He had to have been scared to death.
If the allegations are proven true and Kane is found guilty, he should face a considerable suspension to start the regular season. The damage to his reputation, however, is going to last far longer than whatever punishment the NHL hands down.
As well it should."
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago-Tribune says that it hasn't been the best of off-seasons for as franchise who was turning things around quickly:
"And the young team was very good, unexpectedly going to the Western Conference finals last season.
All of which makes the last month so bizarre. To say the Hawks have handled things clumsily in the off-season would be an understatement, starting with the bumbling of free agent contract offers, the 'reassignment' of former general manager Dale Tallon and the decision not to reveal new Hawk Marian Hossa's shoulder injury.
So when Patrick Kane and his cousin were arrested in Buffalo early Sunday for allegedly assaulting a cab driver over a small amount of money, it made a bad off-season worse. McDonough and the Hawks have little control over what players do off the ice, but the fact one of their two bright young stars is involved in such a messy situation is another unsavory development for a franchise that has lived in Disney World for most of the last two years."
Kane's agent, Pat Brisson of CAA, was not answering calls yesterday. There's no timetable when anyone in the Kane camp will speak or release a statement.