LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 03: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates his first-period goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the NHL game at Staples Center on February 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has plenty on his mind these days. Whether it’s trying to find the score sheet with more consistency in recent weeks, or mentally preparing for the grind of representing Team USA in the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Hawks’ star is dealing with plenty of pressure in his seventh NHL season.
On Monday night, however, Kane had another more personal concern on his mind, as he took to the ice knowing that his grandfather had passed away earlier in the day. Not missing a beat, though, Kane scored a goal on his first shift of the game, and ended up adding another one in addition to an assist in the Blackhawks’ 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
Kane, who pointed skyward after his first period goal gave the Blackhawks an early lead, was frank with the press after the game when discussing his emotions, even tearing up while answering questions.
“Just a tough day overall,” Kane said. “He was one of my great friends growing up. Just a really sad day. It was important to get the win, but any time you get someone taken away from you that’s so close to you, means so much, it’s tough to hear that right before the game, for sure.”
Kane’s relationship with his family has been well-documented over the years in various media. Whether it was playing catch with his father along Michigan Avenue on the series premiere of NHL 36 a few years ago, or bringing his mom with him when he played in Switzerland during the NHL lockout in 2012, Kane has consistently shown that he is a family man first and foremost, and the loss of his grandfather clearly affected him deeply.
"He was a guy I kind of grew up with," Kane said. "He lived next door to me my whole childhood. We would do things like play cards and hang out by the pools throughout the summers. He came to a lot of my hockey games, but I think more importantly for him he was more worried about grades and being a good kid. It's a tough day for sure."
Now, with the Olympics looming and tough games against the Ducks and Coyotes left on the schedule, Kane will have to try to collect his emotions after what was surely a rough and painful evening. Needless to say, he handled the loss with class and strength on Monday, and his grandfather would surely be proud of his performance.