from Mark Lazerus of The Athletic,
All summer, and throughout the Blackhawks’ unexpectedly fun start, people around the league — other reporters, radio hosts across Canada, execs from other front offices, and in two surprising incidents, other NHL players — asked me what I expected Kane to do. And my answer was always the same — I really didn’t know. Everyone else was so sure he was a goner, but I wasn’t. Everything I had gathered from my own reporting and everything I knew about Kane, having covered him for a decade, told me that he was looking for a reason to stay. That he wanted to stay. That he wanted to be a Blackhawk for life and he wanted to play alongside Bedard or whichever other young superstar the Blackhawks draft and he wanted to still be here when the Blackhawks came out the other end of this process.
I still believe that.
But I no longer think it’ll happen. I can’t. It’s too real now, too bleak. And the losses, the hopelessness, seem to be weighing on Kane now. He’s not scoring at his usual pace, with just 16 points (and just three goals) in 21 games. He doesn’t have his usual jump. And he doesn’t seem to be having much fun out there. After Athanasiou’s ill-fated goal on Sunday — which was created when Kane, swarmed by three Jets, managed to muscle the puck to the low slot, where Athanasiou tipped it in — Kane pointed to Athanasiou and pumped his fist over his head, like he so often does when a teammate does something well. Nobody loves scoring and creating goals like Kane does. But the joy was short-lived. As it has been all season.