CHICAGO – Chicago Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane is eager to move on from the summer altercation with a cab driver that led to his arrest.
The 20-year-old and his cousin pleaded guilty last month to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct and were given conditional discharges. They will avoid any penalties if they stay out of trouble for a year and write apologies to the cab driver who alleged the Kanes roughed him up in a dispute over 20 cents.
“There’s a lot that people don’t know,” Kane said Thursday during the Vancouver Olympics media summit. “I’m looking forward to moving forward and getting past it.”
Kane is one of the NHL’s brightest young stars and has helped rejuvenate hockey in Chicago. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, he was rookie of the year in 2007-08 and last year helped lead the Blackhawks to the Western Conference final. He scored a hat trick in the clinching second-round victory over Vancouver.
Baby-faced and personable, his arrest was a shock in Chicago and in his hometown of Buffalo, where it occurred.
Cab driver Jan Radecki told police Kane and his cousin attacked him Aug. 9 when Radecki said he didn’t have 20 cents in change for their fare. Later reports indicated the dispute started after Radecki, following the practice of some other drivers in college neighbourhoods, locked the cab doors until collecting the fare to ensure his passengers did not leave without paying.
Radecki had bruises and broken glasses.
Kane said he is grateful for the support he’s gotten from the Blackhawks and USA Hockey. He was the youngest player invited to an Olympic hockey orientation camp held last month in suburban Chicago, and his offensive skills make him a strong candidate to be on the U.S. team in Vancouver. The U.S. team will be picked by a committee of general managers, and will be based on how players do with their NHL teams the first three months of the season.
Kane said fans have been supportive, too, though he knows that won’t always be the case.
“No real negative comments yet, though I’m sure there’ll be some down the road. I expect that,” he said. “It happened, and I’ve got to live with that. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I’ve got to look at the positives that came out of it.”
The Blackhawks open training camp Sunday, and Kane is anxious to get back on the ice. Despite his legal troubles and their accompanying distractions, he worked out harder this summer than ever. Despite losing veterans Martin Havlat and Nikolai Khabibulin, expectations for the Blackhawks are sure to be higher after last year’s success and Kane said he welcomes that.
“It’s going to be exciting to get back,” he said. “There are a lot of positive things going on in the organization, and it should be a good year.”
Especially if he earns a trip to Vancouver.
Kane has represented the U.S., at the men’s world championships in 2008, the world junior championships in 2007 and the men’s world under-18 championships in 2006. He scored 15 goals and had 16 assists over 21 games in those three competitions.
For the Blackhawks last season, he had 45 assists and 25 goals, including five game-winners.
“It’s a privilege to represent your country,” Kane said. “It’s not something you’re begged to do, it’s something you want to do.”
AP Sports Writer Rick Gano contributed to this report.