Amidst another rather dismal season for the Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane was the team’s lone representative at this year’s NHL All-Star weekend. But make no mistake, nobody will argue he was simply there because every team needs to be represented. Even at 30 years of age, Kane is still at the top of his game and one of the best players in the league. And he’s been consistent throughout his 12-season career.
This was Kane’s eighth All-Star appearance, which was the most of any other players participating. He is known for being a rink rat and loving everything hockey. This past weekend, he truly appeared to enjoy himself. Let’s walk through the 2019 All-Star festivities through Kane’s eyes.
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Hanging With the Kid
On Thursday, Kane conducted his media day interview, but immediately following that was the fun part. He also took time to answer some questions from 10-year-old junior reporter Wyatt Ross. As you view the exchange below, notice the young reporter dutifully wraps up the interview after just a few inquiries. But Kane happily engages him for another full minute as they discuss hockey sticks.
Just two vets talking shop. pic.twitter.com/jT5OpTqX3r
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) January 25, 2019
Making It Look Easy
Kane participated in the Puck Control Relay as part of the skills competition on Friday night. Of the eight skaters, he went first and recorded a time of 28.611 seconds. He was so smooth and effortless, he almost made it look easy. It wasn’t until the others took their turns that you realized how truly difficult the event was. Each participant bobbled or mishandled the puck at some point, costing them valuable time.
As a matter of fact, no other competitor completed the course in under 30 seconds. That is until Johnny Gaudreau took his turn. That’s right, the Calgary Flames forward recorded a time of 27.045 seconds to win the competition. Kane gave kudos to Gaudreau for beating his time by just under 1.6 seconds.
Central Division Over Pacific Division
But Kane got the last laugh on Saturday, as his Central Division team defeated Gaudreau’s Pacific Division team by a score of 10-4 in the three-on-three scrimmage. He earned a primary assist on Roman Josi’s (Nashville Predators) goal to make it 3-1 in the first period. Shortly thereafter, Josi returned the favor with a feed to Kane that resulted in his first goal of the game. He scored again off a two-on-one rush with Winnipeg Jet Blake Wheeler. All-in-all, Kane recorded two goals and one primary assist along with the team-high five shots on goal.
These All-Star matchups are all supposed to be about the fun, not the winning. But ever the competitor, Kane expressed his happiness to NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick after the game. “The Central was struggling for a while. We were 0-3 our last three games, so it was nice to get a win.”
But alas, another victory was not to be. The Central Division advanced to the championship round against the Metropolitan Division, who defeated the Atlantic Division by a score of 7-4. This final matchup got away from the Central early, as the Metropolitan team scored five unanswered goals in the first period. The Central rallied back in the second, but eventually fell 10-5. Kane once again finished with the team-leading five shots on goal and recorded one assist in the loss.
This season featured a first in the history of this hockey celebration. US Olympic Gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield became the first woman to compete in the All-Star skills competition. Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche was unable to compete because of a bruised foot, so the team invited Coyne Schofield to take his place in the Fastest Skater event.
She didn’t disappoint, impressing everyone with a time of 14.346 seconds. This actually ended up putting her in seventh place, beating out Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes who finished in 14.526 seconds. Edmonton Oiler Connor McDavid won the competition for the third season in a row with a time of 13.378 seconds.
Coyne Schofield’s performance didn’t surprise Kane. He played with her over the summer in the Chicago Pro Hockey League and already knew she had no trouble keeping up with the guys.
Speaking of breaking barriers, remember when John Scott was voted by the fans to attend the 2016 All-Star weekend? It started as a joke, but then took on a life of its own. But having a noted goon participate didn’t fit into the NHL’s idea of who should be involved. They almost blocked Scott from attending, but then let him partake due to huge public protest.
He ended up scoring two goals and was named the Most Valuable Player of the weekend. He even staged a fight with ex-teammate Patrick Kane. Scott referenced this “fight” on Twitter when he learned Kane was attending this season’s festivities. In the tweet, he says, “Ugghh! Can’t believe they are still letting this goon (Patrick Kane) in the ASG. When will the league learn, this type of player doesn’t belong in the game!”
Not only did Kane have fun in 2016 with Scott, but he had fun in 2019 as well. He provided a message to fans on the Blackhawks’ official Twitter account at the end of the weekend. “Thank you for following me throughout the (All-Star) weekend. It was a great time,” Kane said. “It will be fun to get back to the team here in a couple days and become a team again.”
We don’t have to wait much longer. The Blackhawks continue their regular-season schedule when they face the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, Feb. 1, and then the Minnesota Wild the next night. Oh, and I do believe Kane only needs one more goal or assist to reach 900 career points. That will be fun, too.
Gail Kauchak has covered the Chicago Blackhawks as a content writer since 2014. She previously wrote for Fansided’s Blackhawk Up, and has been part of The Hockey Writer’s team since 2017. It’s not always easy to balance life’s responsibility’s with one’s passion, but Gail’s doing her best to make it happen. Let’s put it this way; she’s probably reading and writing about hockey instead of cooking and cleaning. Shh, don’t tell her husband!
Follow Gail for her unique commentary about this storied franchise. And be sure to catch her and the rest of the Blackhawks’ crew on their weekly Blackhawks Banter show, as well as follow her on Twitter.