The Buffalo cab driver who was allegedly beaten up by Blackhawks' star Patrick Kane didn't have a valid driver's license at the time of the incident.
Jan Radecki, the 62-year-old cabbie who claimed Kane and his cousin James jumped him over chump change, also had two previous drunken driving convictions, according to the Buffalo News.
The revelation comes just a day after Radecki's lawyer Andrew LoTempio tried to back off the robbery and assault claim.
"It was not really a robbery. That is probably a large distortion of what happened," LoTempio told told WGN radio.
"There was a dispute over the fee and it just kind of escalated from there," LoTempio told the station.
Asked if the case would end up as a felony, he said: "Absolutely not."
"I think we should be able to work things out," he added.
Kane is scheduled for a court hearing next Monday in a Buffalo courtroom. He has pleaded not guilty to felony robbery and misdemeanor counts of theft and criminal mischief. His cousin, James Kane, faces the same charges.
Next Monday is the same day a U.S. Olympic Men's Hockey orientation camp starts in suburban Chicago. USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said Monday that Kane is still expected to participate in the three-day camp.
"We are aware of the incident. We don't condone or approve of what has been suggested the facts are. We are looking into it ourselves," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday.
Police say the cab driver was beaten because he did not have 20 cents in change to give Kane, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft and the NHL rookie of the year the following year. The 62-year-old cab driver, identified as Jan Radecki, said he was punched, grabbed by the throat and had his glasses broken.
His attorney said it is customary for some Buffalo cab drivers to lock the doors of their vehicles with the passengers inside — if they think they might be stiffed on their fare.
Regardless of the outcome, the bad press amounts to a black eye for the Blackhawks, who have had an abysmal offseason after a trip to the Western Conference finals. They signed one star forward in Marian Hossa, only to lose another one in Martin Havlat. They stunned everyone by demoting general manager Dale Tallon.
And now one of the young stars Tallon brought to Chicago, Patrick Kane — the centerpiece of the team's marketing effort for the past two seasons — has had his name plastered all over newspapers with negative connotations.
"Early Sunday morning, Pat Kane was involved in an unfortunate situation with a cab driver in Buffalo," Kane's agent, Pat Brisson, said. "... I am absolutely confident that, when the legal process has been completed, Pat Kane will be fully cleared."
Under team president and former Chicago Cubs marketing guru John McDonough and owner Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks' transformation over the last two seasons has extended off the ice, including the televising of all home games and welcoming back legends like Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. After playing in front of thousands of empty seats two years ago, the team drew more than 1 million fans this past season.
But after losing to the Red Wings in five games in the conference finals three months ago, the offseason has been uproarious. And Kane's arrest has been the most stunning episode of all.
The Blackhawks' biggest offseason acquisition was landing Hossa with a whopping 12-year, $62.8 million contract.
A couple of days later, in the aftermath of the Tallon demotion, McDonough was booed at the team's fan convention.
Havlat, who led the team in scoring last year but was not re-signed and went to the Minnesota Wild, criticized McDonough, saying he had been out to get Tallon because he wanted all the credit for the Hawks' turnaround.
And after it was revealed that Hossa had a shoulder injury, one that eventually required surgery and will force him to miss the beginning of the season, the NHL acknowledged it was investigating whether his long contract violated the league's salary cap.