SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Chicago Blackhawks will hit the ice Friday morning at Notre Dame for their first practice of training camp and Patrick Kane will join them, clearly using the rink at Compton Family Ice Arena as a refuge from the off-ice controversy swirling around him.
In his first public comments since the investigation of an alleged sexual assault by Kane in his Hamburg home became public last month, the South Buffalo native went into full duck-and-cover mode with reporters here Thursday and you can read my full report here. He read a 25-second statement apologizing for the distraction he's caused and insisting he'd be absolved, then spent eight minutes taking questions and saying pretty much nothing.
The biggest takeaway from that: "I appreciate the question" is now and forever etched into the lexicon of the hockey world and bizarre athlete press conferences in general after Kane used the phrase or a variation of it nine times to evade giving any answers. Seriously now, he appreciates a question that asks if he's going to stop drinking?
The commentary from around the Internet has been mostly harsh toward Kane and the Hawks.
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Mark Potash gives the plain reality check for everyone: "The only real message of the day was an unspoken one: the Hawks aren’t worried about losing the press conference as long as they can still win the Stanley Cup. This day will pass." (Potash, by the way, asked Kane the drinking question).
In the Toronto Star, Bruce Arthur calls it a tone-deaf day for Kane and Hawks and wonders simply: Why did they do this?
In the Chicago Tribune, David Haugh had a similar point: Why bother?
(An aside here: The Hawks had to make Kane available in my opinion because he was going to be skating and not skipping camp. That said, I was among the many in the room who expected Kane to simply read a statement, thank the media for attending and walk out. That the team and his advisors had him attempt to take questions was a surprise to all of us and it certainly didn't go well).
In the Sporting News, Sean Gentile simply called the entire display baffling
On TSN.ca, Frank Seravalli said it was a bizarro world once Kane left the room.
On the other side, Sportsnet's Damien Cox says there's nothing wrong about Kane being in camp.
And in the Winnipeg Free Press, Gary Lawless speaks to Calgary president Brian Burke about the tightrope the Hawks and league are walking if they tried to prevent Kane from working if he was charged. Interesting.
You can watch the whole exchange with Kane here: