By: Luke Johns
We all know that in the NFL, it’s Tom Brady’s “Revenge Tour.” Everyone and their mother has heard that phrase this year in some way, shape, or form. Flying under the radar is that in the NHL it’s Patrick Kane’s revenge tour.
I’m not ignorant. I know that allegedly being generally aware of a possibility that an equipment manager removed air from footballs is nowhere near as heinous as allegedly committing sexual assault. But what’s comparable between Kane and Brady is that both high-profile, fresh off a championship athletes had a distraction-filled summer from their respective allegations despite the fact they insist they did nothing wrong. While neither player has said anything juicy to the media about the incidents, both reputations took serious hits and both have let their play do the talking—leading the league in multiple offensive categories.
A quick synopsis of what Patrick Kane has gone through to this point is that in August, a woman accused Kane of raping her in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. Bite marks and a scratch were found but no DNA from below the waste was. What got the ball rolling was a report that an evidence bag from her rape kit was found on the doorstep of her parent’s house and appeared to be tampered with. Later the accuser’s attorney dropped her as a client, followed by a report that Kane officially won’t be charged due primarily to the woman no longer wanting to participate in the investigation because of “tremendous stress for her and her family” that the investigation caused.
I’m not a lawyer, nor will I get into my opinion on the whole legal manner. But despite the fact that there were never charges, Kane’s reputation was trashed. EA Sports removed him from the cover of NHL 16 videogame cover, hockeyfeed.com wrote an article about how Kane has a negative influence on the Blackhawks and The Chicago Tribune began an article with, “Patrick Kane looks to be guilty of bad judgment. Again.” It is evident that in today’s guilty until proven innocent society, a large portion of one’s criminal label is dependent on the general public’s perception.
I truly believe that when great athletes face adversity, they have the ability to use all the negative noise as motivation and channel it toward bringing their game to a level so high they wouldn’t be able to bring it to otherwise.
Entering Wednesday, Kane is leading the league with 13 goals and 28 points. That means he’s on pace for 59 goals and 128 points this season. On the note of great athletes taking their game to another level, it’s reasonable to believe that Kane is unloading all his pent-up anger on his opponents. As a result of that, opposing teams are facing the wrath of a pissed off Patrick Kane as he’s on a mission to figuratively give the middle finger to anyone who said anything negative about him with his stellar on-ice play.
While Kane and Brady did objectively speaking get off on technicality, both are out of the woods in terms of facing punishment (let’s be real, why would the court of appeals accept the same NFL case Judge Richard Berman rejected?) and now don’t have a strong lingering worry of being punished. Both have their sights set on taking out all their frustration on their opponents, and are putting up staggering numbers doing so.
Though Kane likely would never admit it publically, I think that he is indeed treating this season like a revenge tour similar to how I think Brady is treating this NFL season. The Blackhawks as a team however, perhaps dealing with an early-season Stanley Cup Hangover, are currently fifth in the Central Division. So from a team standpoint Kane isn’t exactly getting revenge yet through a month and a half of the regular season. Still, from a fan’s perspective I can’t help but notice the crazy hot start Kane has gotten off to this year, and I don’t think it’s directly related to Kane feeding off all the scrutiny from the allegations and him using the rink as his sanctuary to play the best hockey of his career.