It was a moment of celebration, tempered by grief.
“Tough day overall,” said Kane, tears streaming down his face after the Blackhawks’ 5-3 win over the Kings. “It was important to get the win, but [it's tough] any time you get someone taken away from you that’s so close to you.”
Kane discovered before the game that his grandfather, Donald Kane, had passed away.
“He’s one of my great friends growing up. It’s a really sad day,” he said. “It’s tough to hear about it before the game.”
Kane was devastated by the news, but played on for the Blackhawks, transforming his remorse into dominant play. He scored 1 minute and 2 seconds into the game on the power play. He assisted on Bryan Bickell’s goal later in the period for a 2-0 lead. Then, in the third, he converted Patrick Sharp’s pass for goal No. 27 on the season, Chicago’s fifth goal of the night.
"It was a special game for him tonight," Coach Joel Quenneville said of Kane, via NHL.com. "He's a proud guy. I think his grandfather meant a lot to him. Probably a very emotional night for him, but he played an unbelievable game. He had the puck and scored a couple, but did so many other things. I'm sure he's excited what he did for him."
What Kane did was have his best game since Dec. 28, which was the last time he posted three points. Kane had six shots on goal and eight shot attempts overall.
As it is for so many players facing personal adversity, hockey was Kane’s escape. Look no further than this postgame interview; watch how his emotions shift when the conversation turns away from family and to the game.
"He lived next door to me my whole childhood. We'd do things like play cards and hang out by the pool throughout the summers. He came to a lot of my hockey games, but more importantly, for him, he was worried about grades and being a good kid,” said Kane, via NHL.com.
“It was a tough day, for sure."