In talking to Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane about his game you never get the feeling he’s faking it. There are more honest assessments than usual clichés, and while he’s known as a fun guy off the ice, he takes his job seriously.
“For me personally I want to make the next step as a player and try to become one of the elite players in the NHL,” Kane said on the one year anniversary of his biggest goal of his life in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. “Some might say maybe I’m there already, but myself, personally, I feel I can be way better and do even more.”
It’s Kane’s tone that convinces you as well as his love of the game. He would rather be playing right now, but he plans on taking full advantage of the extra time off this summer to prepare for next season. It might be the longest summer he’ll get over the next few years.
“It’s a nice break for us,” Kane said. “For a lot of us. We haven’t had this break in a while. It’s something we can really use to our advantage. I think a lot of us will come back hungry next year especially seeing how close we were this year. Game 7 against Vancouver and now they are in the finals. We could have been there again, and we feel like we could have had a better year.”
The Hawks almost pulled off the historic comeback, losing Game 7 in overtime after dropping the first three games of the series and then winning the next three in their first round series.
“When we get in those pressure situations there is no quit in our team,” Kane said. “All of us want to advance as far as we can. It’s a pretty special group of guys, especially the core guys. I think it’s going to be like that for a while.”
Kane was talking from Montreal where he took a one day trip to get his “equipment ready” for next season. Other than that, he’s been laying low in Buffalo.
“I’m over at my parent’s home every day,” he said. “We’re going to take a trip to Universal later this month, but I’m getting ready as well. I’ve been on the ice six to seven times. I made this trip to Montreal to get my equipment figured out. I’ve been working out for a couple weeks.”
At his end of season press conference Kane said it was a good thing he, and even the fans, weren’t satisfied with him being a point per game (73 points in 73 games) player. He wants more.
“I know how fans feel,” Kane said. “It’s time for me to make the next step. I feel that way, too. This year I really want to make the next step."
Kane has talked in the past about reaching 100 points, but with the busy schedule he’s endured over the past couple seasons this might be his best chance at it. He should be rested and ready.
“Last summer was so busy with the celebration and all the events,” Kane said. “We did all those appearances and then the next thing you know you have a month until the season starts. This year will be different.”
The Hawks are hoping so as well.