CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 19: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks reaches for the puck against the Boston Bruins at the United Center on January 19, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Sports history is littered with players who come into their respective league and never live up to their potential. Whether a result of injury like Greg Oden, or because of folding under pressure like Ryan Leaf, some top-tier prospects crash and burn before they can achieve what has been forecast for them.
For Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, it can never be said that he hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he was drafted first overall by the Blackhawks in 2007. In his NHL career, Kane has won two Stanley Cups, a Calder Trophy, and the Conn Smythe Trophy, and is now arguably the best American hockey player on the planet.
All of that is well and good, but there is one piece of hardware that has eluded Kane thus far in his career: an Olympic gold medal. He came tantalizingly close in 2010, as Team USA was defeated in overtime of the gold medal game on a Sidney Crosby goal in Vancouver that gave the Canadians (including Kane’s Blackhawk teammates Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook) their second gold medal in three Olympics.
Now, after four years of waiting for his chance to once again skate for gold, Kane is having what could be a career season in the lead-up to the Sochi Games. Despite a recent slump, Kane still leads the Blackhawks in points with 58 this season, and he is the backbone of the league’s best offense.
Will all of that translate into Kane helping the US to their first gold medal since 1980? That remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: Kane isn’t about to forget the lessons that came with seeing his dreams extinguished so close to the finish line last time.