Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brian Hedger at NHL.com,
Will the Blackhawks have to make more moves to get under the NHL salary cap? As things stand now, yes. Chicago is $393,462 over the $71.4 million salary cap for 2015-16 with an NHL roster of 22 players (14 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies), according to war-on-ice.com.
That figure doesn't include fourth-line forwards Marcus Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom, who remain restricted free agents.
Kruger, the fourth-line center and a top penalty-killer, has played a key role in each of Chicago's past two championships. He's reportedly waiting to see if general manager Stan Bowman can free enough cap space to sign him long-term, which could be the case with Nordstrom.
Either way, the Blackhawks have unfinished business heading into training camp, much like they did a year ago, when they traded defenseman Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders to get under the cap. This year, the cost might be veteran forwards Bryan Bickell or Kris Versteeg, or it could be somebody who's not thought to be on the trade block.
Will the top four defensemen be as effective with Trevor Daley replacing Johnny Oduya? If the Blackhawks last season proved anything, it was that the Stanley Cup can be won with four defensemen handling the vast majority of the work.
Oduya, 33, who signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 15, was one of Chicago's top four defenders. The good news for the Blackhawks is that Daley, acquired from the Stars in the trade for Patrick Sharp, is comparable in build, age and skating ability. He moves the puck quickly, has loads of experience, and has high-end offensive instincts, scoring 16 goals in a 38-point season for the Stars in 2014-15....
Social media is riddled with comments from people ripping and defending Kane, demanding justice this way or that, saying Kane’s drinking is to blame, on and on. A Buffalo bar owner has weighed in. So has Kane’s driver, an off-duty cop.
It’s an ugly scene, this battlefield — even if all we can see is smoke from the distant cannons.
Even though Kane has lost a lucrative deal with EA Sports, and his image with teammate Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup on the cover of a video game has been replaced by one with Toews alone holding the Cup, Kane is, at this moment, as innocent of a serious crime as you or I.
But here’s one undebatable item, resonating in Hawks fans’ hearts, no backup required: The joy of Chicago’s 2015 Stanley Cup triumph has vanished in the breeze.
-Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times where you can read more on the Patrick Kane case.
from Cari Grieb at The Sporting News,
The NHL, like other professional sports leagues, has become mired in controversy over domestic violence and sexual assault without taking a strong stand. Much of this league detachment can be attributed to the media and the Internet, which has overly-sensationalized athlete controversies in the Post-Ray Rice era, and has made fans equally desensitized.
Last September, Commissioner Gary Bettman took an active stance against domestic violence and sexual assault while speaking in Toronto. In the months since, he has expressed no interest in negotiating a domestic violence and sexual assault policy with the NHL Players Association; to the Commissioner’s Office, its current laissez faire approach to discipline is working fine.
The ongoing investigation into rape allegations facing the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and the lack of action on both the league-wide and team level, illuminates the acute, pervasive issue for America’s fourth most popular professional sport.
Since the commencement of the Kane investigation, the NHL has sat idly by, waiting for a charge to be filed against the three-time Stanley Cup champion before taking any disciplinary action.
from Lizz Schumer of The Sun,
HAMBURG — The Patrick Kane investigation continues to fester, and the more well-intentioned (or otherwise) comments come out, the more the parties involved get hurt. In the absence of statements from Kane or the young ladies (allegedly) involved in the incident, the only quotes in the press should be “no comment.”
Local commentator Alan Bedenko of “The Daily Public” has vocally opposed some local media’s coverage of the incident from the beginning, particularly the inclusion of statements from SkyBar owner Mark Croce. Recently, the off-duty police officer who gave Kane, a friend of his and two young women a ride back to Kane’s house, spoke on the record as a friend of the hockey star’s. Buffalo police officer Thomas English, spoke as a friend, as he is barred from speaking to the press in an official capacity. Bedenko was critical of his statement as he has been of Croce’s remarks about the woman’s behavior and Kane’s bar tab, criticized the officer. “Everyone – and I mean everyone – should take a cue from all the lawyers in the case and stop talking to the press,” Bedenko wrote. “The same goes for the alleged victim’s friends who were trying to help. None of them are witnesses as to what happened, yet they’re talking to the media about the alleged victim’s character.”
from Patrick Rishe at Forbes,
On July 9th of 2014, Patrick Kane signed an 8-year $84 million extension to remain with the Chicago Blackhawks, hockey’s best franchise recently with 3 Stanley Cup victories in 6 years. This included a $44 million signing bonus.
That said, we can understand why Kane may not be all that concerned with losing millions in endorsements as a result of public perceptions regarding his off-ice behavior.
However, if these latest allegations are true, both Kane and the Blackhawks will find themselves in a most precarious position.
And even if innocent, the unfortunate connection to this type of story completely ruins his earnings ability as a product endorser.
Kane is facing allegations of raping a woman who came to his home in suburban Buffalo on August 2nd after a night out on the town. Though the investigation into the matter is ongoing, the mere allegations were enough to prompt EA Sports to pull Kane from their EA Sports NHL 2016 cover (now Kane’s teammate and team captain, Jonathan Toews, graces the cover alone).
Furthermore, other companies with whom he represents (Bauer Hockey, McDonald’s) are closely monitoring the current situation as they decide on whether to keep ties with Kane.
If charges are filed against Kane, the case will dwarf anything that has come before in the NHL. The league and the Blackhawks have been lucky that all this is going on during cottage season, when the world is paying little attention to events in Hamburg.
All that is about to change, no matter what local officials decide to do. At best, Kane’s reputation is permanently tainted, the myth that he had grown up since his previous brushes with the law now in tatters. At worst, the NHL will have the man who may be its biggest American star in the dock facing a rape charge.
At the very least, the NHL needs to send the right signal by suspending Kane until this is resolved, one way or another. It’s pretty clear the Blackhawks aren’t going to act unless the NHL forces their hand — and the time to act is now.
-Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette where you can read more on this topic.
from the Buffalo News,
An off-duty Buffalo police lieutenant served as Patrick Kane’s chauffeur on the night the hockey star was accused of raping a young woman in his Town of Hamburg home.
Lt. Thomas English told The Buffalo News that he drove Kane, the alleged rape victim, her female friend and a male friend of Kane’s to the National Hockey League player’s home on Old Lake Shore Road early on the morning of Aug. 2.
English said investigators from the Erie County District Attorney’s Office have interviewed him as they investigate the allegation against Kane.
English said he supports Kane, a longtime family friend who has employed him for the past five years. In photos that could be viewed on English’s Facebook page as recently as Thursday, he is seen with the Stanley Cup at a celebration with Kane in 2010.
The lieutenant acknowledged that he has no way of knowing what happened between Kane and the alleged victim inside the house. Since the allegation was made, he said, he has had no contact with Kane or his family. However, he was seen outside Kane’s Hamburg residence on the Wednesday after the incident was reported, picking up litter.
Law enforcement sources told The News that Buffalo police are conducting an internal investigation to determine whether English was with Kane at any time he was supposed to be on duty the night of the alleged rape.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
My job calls for sharing my opinions. Often, it means taking a position. That’s why they pay me, but we’re not talking about the Bills’ starting quarterback or the Sabres needing a right-handed shooting defenseman. This isn’t about some athlete driving while intoxicated or getting into a barroom brawl. This is a rape allegation.
You want my position? My position is that people need to stop taking positions. They should allow everyone involved to perform their duties with the idea – the mere hope – that facts eventually will emerge and the legal system will work. Nothing good can come from conclusions drawn from speculation and fueled by emotion.
Public assumptions and comments that have been made without people knowing the facts need to cease. It includes SkyBar owner and real-estate developer Mark Croce, whose remarks about not having “skin in the game” and a woman flirting with Kane were way out of line.
So let’s take a deep breath and a step back while the case unfolds.
Two lives have been turned upside down before our eyes. Both could be ruined by the time the case is closed, if they’re not already.
This is no time to rush to judgment, whether you’re a sex-crimes expert or proud owner of a No. 88 jersey. It’s difficult to comprehend Kane would commit such a crime. It’s difficult to comprehend a woman would concoct such an allegation. Perhaps everyone can agree that there will be no winners.
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,
What do the Hawks do if Kane remains in legal limbo as the Sept. 18 reporting date nears? The only way they avoid that Catch-22 is if the DA announces in the next month that no charges will be filed. But if Kane faces charges or the investigation remains open, the Hawks face a dilemma in which both sides of the debate can be defended.
Here's my side: In the post-Ray Rice era of professional sports, a first-class franchise such as the Hawks cannot allow a player facing serious allegations to represent it until more clarity about the case exists. That clarity could come sooner rather than later in Kane's case, but it is missing now.
The thing about setting a standard of excellence as high as the Hawks have is living up to it; no single player, not even a living legend, can compromise that commitment to integrity.
An NHL dressing room is not a courtroom; depriving a player such as Kane the right to skate indefinitely is not the same as depriving him of his freedom. It serves as protection against the possibility Kane's alleged transgressions will further embarrass one of the classiest organizations in pro sports. As a former NFL executive texted me Tuesday: "If Kane was in the NFL, he would not play or practice again until (the) case is settled."
added 8:26am, Twitter reacts to Patrick Kane and it isn't pretty...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com