Well…to say that the Chicago Blackhawks have had an interesting offseason would be quite the understatement. After a very impressive season and playoff run that took them to the Western Conference Finals, it seems that about anything odd, bizarre or negative that could happen to them…has.
They lost the team’s leading scorer and MVP Martin Havlat, who signed with Minnesota as a UFA.
They replaced his spot in the lineup by inking Marion Hossa to a 12-year, $62.8 million deal…who will now undergo surgery to repair a damaged shoulder and will likely miss 4 months of the season.
Oh, and that contract of Hossa’s?… well it is being investigated by the NHL to see if it’s running afoul of the team’s salary cap and/or violation the current collective bargaining agreement.
How very special.
And not to be forgotten is the fact that just a month ago, then Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon came under scrutiny when the NHLPA accused the team of not submitting qualifying offers to their restricted free agents before the deadline…including Kris Versteeg. Despite being able to re-sign the players before action could be taken…it lead to the demotion of Tallon to the position of Senior Advisor.
Scotty Bowman’s son Stan was then promoted to GM.
Then…just about the time Rick Dudley had to be thinking to himself, “Gee, looks like I got out of there just in time”…we learn of last weekend’s incident in Buffalo, NY involving their prize forward Patrick Kane, Kane’s cousin and a Taxi cab driver. The police report files states that the two beat the cab driver over a dispute involving 20 cents in change.
Yes, these are special times indeed for hockey fans of the windy city.
Now, it is yet to be seen just what…if anything…will come of these charges. However, the lawyer representing the cab driver…now identified as 62-year old Jan Radeki… has already moved to try and smooth things out.
“There was a dispute over the fee and it just kind of escalated from there,” Radeki’s attorney Andrew LoTempio told Chicago’s WGN radio on Monday. “It was not really a robbery. That is probably a large distortion of what happened…I think we should be able to work things out.
When asked if thought what took place between his client and the two Kanes was a felony, he responded, “Absolutely not”.
So maybe all this can be worked out between the two parties in kind of a “can’t we all just get along” sorta way.
Regardless, this is just another entry in a bizarre summer for a Blackhawks organization that had taken great strides over the course of the past couple of years to place themselves back into the upper tier of the NHL clubs. For them, even more than other teams, this summer can’t end soon enough and the season just can’t get here quick enough.
As for Kane himself…well…certainly he is young enough to be able to recover from a PR standpoint. Maybe not alllllll the way back, mind you…but most of the way at least. But this could cost him plenty in endorsements dollars I’m sure.
I’m also quite positive that Kane will feel the cold, brutal wrath of opposing team’s fans when the Hawks are on the road this year. There will no doubt be signs reading, “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime, or Two?”… “Please Don’t Beat Me With Your KANE”….or, “Citizen Arrest Kane”.
It’s to be expected I suppose.
And possibly when the Blackhawks are on a road trip, some club will make sure that game is advertised to be Cab Drivers Appreciation Night where all cabbies got discount tickets and the team skates out on the ice to the theme song to the TV sitcom “Taxi”.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no…Chicago does not play in Philips this season.