Photo Source: Yahoo Canada
Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist in the Blackhawks’ 5-3 win against the L.A. Kings Monday night, just hours after learning his beloved grandfather, Donald “Grandpa Kane-O” Kane, had passed away.
“Tough day overall,” Kane told reporters with tears welling up. “He was one of my great friends growing up, and [it’s] just a really sad day. It was important to get the win, but anytime you get someone taken away from you that’s so close, that means so much, it’s tough to hear that right before the game.”
It was an emotional post-game interview for the standout player.
“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,” Kane told NHL.com after the game. “He came to a lot of my hockey games, but more importantly for him, he was worried about grades and being a good kid. It was a tough day, for sure.”
As someone who grew up with grandparents right down the street, it was hard watching Kane swallow the lump in his throat for hist interview. It isn’t always easy to relate to professional athletes, but I soon saw my grandparents back at any of my sporting events, and reminisced eagerly handing over my report cards to my own grandpa–earning cash, but more importantly, smiles and hugs, for A’s. And, I thought of my youngest brother breaking my grandma’s bank with $5 per goal during an undefeated Bantam year.
As tears welled up in my own eyes, I was grateful the reporters brought the focus back on the game. And, what a game it was.
Kane, like many athletes, seemed to fuel the sorrow into an inspirational performance in the arena.
Just 1:02 into the first period, he gave the Blackhawks the lead with a Power Play wrist shot, assisted by Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp.
“To see the little guy, the way he performed… hats off to him. He put it out there,” Bryan Bickell said of Kane’s performance.
Bickell’s performance was significant as well. He scored about seven minutes later (a slapshot off a feed from Kane), breaking a bit of a slump that’s left him a healthy scratch and earned recent criticism. It was Bickell’s 100th career point.
“He didn’t get a ton of minutes but it was progress,” Coach Joel Quenneville told Comcast Sportsnet about Bickell Tuesday. “We expect him to continue to get confidence, get some predictability in his game. He did some good things last night, and it was nice to see.”
The Kings’ Drew Doughty scored on a power play while Andrew Shaw (1 assist) served a roughing penalty about halfway through the first.
Anze Kopitar then tied the game 6:30 into the second.
The next three goals came from a dominating Chicago team.
Marcus Kruger tipped a goal in (assists by Nick Leddy, Ben Smith) at 13:52 in the second, giving the lead back to the Hawks.
At 7:01 in the third, Leddy (assists by Marian Hossa, Kris Versteeg) whipped a slapshot past Jonathan Quick.
Four minutes later, Kane tallied his second goal of the night, with a tip-in fed by Toews and Sharp.
Though Tyler Toffoli was able to respond in just 30 seconds with a wrist shot goal (assists by Kopitar, Jeff Carter), the Hawks were able to hold the Kings for the remainder of the game, giving Kane, Bickell, Corey Crawford, and the rest of the crew a much-needed victory.
The Kings took 41/63 face-offs and were 36-10 with hits. Quick made 25 saves, while Crawford made 31.
Tonight, the Western Conference leading Blackhawks take on the Pacific Conference-leading Ducks. They close their six-game road trip (so far 2-0-2) in Phoenix Friday before the Olympic break.