Since being drafted 1st overall in 2007, Patrick “Party” Kane has been on a tear through the NHL, specifically the goaltenders. He can dazzle one on one, split the D, or spin around a Norris Trophy winner while roofing the puck before the goalie begins to react. Lacking the bully size that other stars have around the league, names like Alex Ovechkin or even teammate Marian Hossa, Kane makes do with immaculate agility that allows him to get by you before you have a chance to line up a hit.
From the U18 All Star game in ’06, or being the Conn Smythe recipient in 2013, Kane has continued to show the world that USA hockey is far from dead. The committed hockey fan knows that the European players usually bring the stick skills to the ice, and the average fan assumes all the leagues best players hail from the great white north, meanwhile, a 26 year old mega-star from Buffalo, NY has become one of the five most recognized names in the league.
When you watch Kane gather the puck speeding down the boards, you can expect one of two scenarios, he continues to pick up speed and you know he’s heading towards the crease to undress the man in the mask, or he’s going to pull up, bring the defense together, just to show the world how easily he can dangle his way through a team. Whichever road he takes, you can imagine the goalie is in for trouble, and set up for failure. Fans from Detroit especially have seen the brilliance that can explode off the stick blade of Patrick Kane, whether a regulation stunner, or ending the game with in an unreal deke in a shootout.
Averaging just under a point per game over the course of his eight seasons (including a 47 game lockout schedule), it is just the beginning of his remarkable feats. He won a gold medal in the U18 championships, and a silver medal in the 2010 Olympic games with the US. He’s also the man who scored the overtime game winner in 2012, starting the Blackhawks era of dominance over the last six years, which included two more cups, with four Western Conference Finals appearances.
Stats are usually what pull fans to appreciate players, but the US fans need to recognize more than just the “wow” stats he’s putting up, but he has committed himself to growing the sport here in America, whether in Chi-Town, his hometown of Buffalo, or up in Minnesota where he truly honed his natural born talent. He;s one of many in the sport for the US today, but having a featured face, and two time EA NHL cover athlete come from our great nation is good for hockey, and is fulfilling the NHL’s American Dream.