USATSI_7320434_160885884_lowres

Kaner

As was posted in our Morning Links, and then got linked to by Puck Daddy, Kaner’s retrospective on CSN last night drew some attention for showing a little bit of an emotional side regarding the support of his family and teammates and organization after that….whathaveya last spring in Madison.

I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that we’ve written about Kaner more than any other player on this blog in the 5+ years we’ve been doing it (this does not include all the sonnets McClure writes about Sharp on his own and quite possibly in his sleep). Kaner’s never far from the forefront a story’s headline when he’s not actually it himself. On the ice and a lot of times off it, it seems you just can’t keep your eyes off of him.

Our feelings on Kane always seem to get mixed up. I know I’ve spent more time defending him than anyone and yet there are still a lot out there who think I hate him. It’s the same for McClure and Killion. All of us think we are blessed to get to watch him on a nightly basis, because quite simply the Hawks have not had anyone like him in our lifetimes (sorry Mr. Savard, but my description of Kane as, “the most talented Hawks since Savvy” is probably getting updated to beyond that soon). A lot of other fans feel the same.

Most people think our feelings on Kane were colored by his nightlife reputation. That’s not entirely true. It’s not what he’s doing but how he’s doing it. We’re drinking snobs, after all. But in all honesty, I think all the writers on this blog don’t give a shit what goes on away from the ice, short of crimes and effecting the job they’re paid to do. Some people like to know where players live and where they are, and that’s cool, too.

But I think, for really no reason, that one of the reasons Kane is always in the news and with eyes on him, is because he’s pretty much all of us.

Let me try and explain. When I was criticizing Kane’s off-ice shenanigans, I got a lot of people throwing at me the, “You’d be exactly the same way if you were him!” Well of course I would be. In fact, I was at that age, minus the money, the looks, the physical shape, or any of the sex. But I bet I cried into my beer way more than Kaner!

So of course I get it. But along with that wild life in my early 20′s, I would also expect admonishment from employers and elders, and I got them. Believe me, my father wasn’t always pleased when I was still living at home and was racking up the consecutive roll-ins at 4am, even though he let me have my space. Bosses were less thrilled. One of the unique aspects of this blog and job is that our alcoholism enhances our ability to write (so we tell ourselves), but if the quality dipped in my writing significantly because I couldn’t stop falling down, you’d let me know (insert your joke about our grammar and typos here, and then go fuck yourself).

And you probably went through it, too. Kaner’s case is just magnified and blown out more because of his job and status. Remember, hockey prodigies have a much different growth than players in other sports in this country, for the most part. Kaner left home when he was what, 14? He didn’t have a traditional high school, no college. His life has been hockey since his balls dropped, essentially. Compare that with Toews who had something of a normal high school experience (boarding school at Shattuck St. Mary’s) and then a year of college at least.

Not only was Kaner’s arrival the first time he was on his own, it was probably the first time he had to create a life outside of hockey at all. Missteps are easy to make.

Just as easy as it is to identify with all that, it’s easy to identify with Kane’s growth and rising maturity. Hey, we all get older. Vomiting on yourself gets old. You start to want other things (so I’m told, I’m still pretty pleased with vomiting on myself in my 30s). It feels like Kaner is grasping that he’s got a chance to be more than just famous here.

Let’s say the Hawks bring in another Cup or two in this era (not a totally ridiculous suggestion at this point). Look at how those members of the Bulls are treated in town and in NBA lore. Not just Jordan and Pippen. You’re not just famous. You’re historic. You begin to transcend something more than just an athlete in this town (Jordan, Santo, Butkus, Payton to name a few) It seems that Kane is eager to grasp onto that.

Or maybe it’s just so easy to see ourselves in Kane. He plays the game with as much bounce in his step as we would. He’s got a “I’ll fucking show you” streak that a lot of us have had after various slights growing up (mostly in high school, if I had to guess where a majority’s come from). Yeah, Kane’s definitely a chad but there is something about him that does appeal to all the outcasts and punks of our younger days. He’s taken all the steps we did, and might take more.

And he’s ours. And that’s a gift.

  • laaarmer

    In my mind, he will always be skating down the ice shaking his hands up in the air, while everybody else in the hockey world was thinking “WTF Kaner?”

    • mightymikeD

      HA! yes indeed.. the only two people who knew exactly where that puck was resting was Kane & Leighton..

      • bizarrohairhelmet

        And handsome

        • mightymikeD

          and handsome, yes.

          • Roy Batty

            And Boynton and Darroll Powe (watch him take his mouthguard out at the moment of truth…along with slumped shoulders and general crestfallitude)

        • mad-hatter

          Laddy boy as well. Basically everybody but Soupy and BOYNTON.

          • Accipiter

            Niemi was thinking about how he could make the ice better.

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      I’ll probably remember 2010 and 2013 the same. I bet the 2010 win is better remembered by non-Hawk and non-Bruin fans.

  • mightymikeD

    Fucking A-1 Sam… I think, this year, we got to see a boy become a man.. I would not be surprised to see an “A” on Kane’s jersey in the near future. He’s a once-in-a-generation talent and seems to be adding Leadership and Responsibility to his game without losing that spark.. I feel privileged just to watch him play

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Gonna need a lot more “A”s with this group.

      • mightymikeD

        aye.I was all for taking the A away from Seabs.. but then he went and had his Playoffs.. and is clearly looked up to by the rest of the team

        • Preacher

          We learned a bit about Seabs, didn’t we, when he gave the Captain an earful in Detroit? Apparently, he does that on a regular basis. And then you’ve got Zus who apparently pulled Shaw aside and told him to cool it on the penalties and, voila! Shaw wasn’t in the box after that. Bunch of beauties, this group!

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Fucking right, Preacher.

          • mightymikeD

            absolutely. this group of players is blessed: not just because there are a whole bunch of obvious leaders, but because they seem to be able to bring that leadership & experience into the locker room without any ego problems. I’d call that unique.

          • Waylon

            Let us not forget Mayers, apparently he gave the whole team an earful when they found themselves down to SCUM 3 – 1. There’s a reason why he was the second to get the cup, and it wasn’t only because of his age.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I love me some Jamal Mayers.

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          You know 10 and 2 have the “A” officially, right? 7 is a reserve “A”.

    • Fork

      Nobody gets an “A” on the front of their sweater as long as Sharp or Keith are around.

      • mightymikeD

        granted.. when I say “Near” I probably mean “Far”.. because there’s no way those ‘A’ s go away…

        • lizmcneill

          I’m getting a bit choked up thinking about Sharpy handing off his A to Kaner when he hangs them up. Sharpy has a soft corner of his heart the approximate size of Ontario when it comes to his fellow Patrick.

      • Commit88

        Can’t they just add a 3rd A ?

        • Fork

          You’re allowed either 2 As and a C or 3 As. The past few years, when any of Toews/Sharp/Keith have been out, Seabrook’s assumed an A. 2 years ago, when 2 were out, Hossa had an A for a game or two.

  • tom cotter

    I have met him twice, he was super gracious and nice to me both times so that is how I think of him. Also that GWG in game 6 finals 2010 and his Conn Smythe this year make him a legend. He is a Hawk legend now with plenty of years left to add on to it.

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      I was about 15 yards from him when he completed his spin-o-rama goal in Dallas this year. Ultimately the game was meaningless, but the grace and natural flow of the play is something that will stick with me. There were a few defenders getting paid millions of dollars a year between him and the goal and that play was not only a display of how you can’t stop him all of the time, but also of how you can’t even let your guard down for a moment. His 80% is most NHL players 100%. If he gets a chance to break loose, there’s not much anyone can do about it.

      • Z-man19

        His pass to Hossa for the OT(?) winner vs Dallas was pretty damn good as well

  • North Lakeview

    I think something that is overlooked by everyone is that his first chance at a childhood was living with the Bowmans and their 2 children during his rookie season. Supposedly he cherishes that experience. Unfortunately he was kicked out after Stan’s lymphoma reappeared since they didn’t want to see him suffer. I think that failed attempt at childhood really affected him.

  • Trixie

    Seems like revisionist history lesson to me Sam. Sorry. Came here due to link from Fork.

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      O.M.G. Quick, hide the CNS…

    • mightymikeD

      yaaay for more pointlessly obnoxious posts

    • laaarmer

      Hi Trixie

      • Trixie

        Hey Ralph :) Sorry, did NOT come here to troll, honestly followed a link, read post and was shocked (in a good way).

    • 10thMountainFire

      Ryan Miller, is that you?

  • Preacher

    I find it hard to believe anyone thinks you hate Kaner, Sam. You’re always the one coming in here and threatening bodily harm to those who suggest we should trade him. And it’s hard to believe people still don’t understand how incredibly fortunate we are to have Kane on our team, doing what he does on the ice, better than just about everyone else does it. We are witnessing a legend in the making. Our gift indeed.

    • mightymikeD

      +1 from mmD.. exactly right, Preach. I’m old enough to remember soccer players like John Barnes and Diego Maradona at their peak.. also cricketers like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Viv Richards, Graeme Hick…, you just feel happy to have seen guys that excellent at their sport perform, regardless of affiliation.

      • SamFels

        But even at his depths Kane probably didn’t do like 1/600th of the amount of coke Maradona did.

        • mightymikeD

          Ha! yes. I think Argentina had to borrow a mountain range off Chile just to compensate for the amount of “Snow” that Diego snuffed

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          And Kaner has yet to put the puck in his own net.

          • 1benmenno

            And he doesn’t have to invoke God when he touches the puck with his hand.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Let the record show that many others here, myself included, also threatened to commit bodily harm to those proposing a Kane trade.

      • SaadBuster

        I was only lurking during those times, but the idea of a Kane for Miller swap made me want to murder someone. And hell, that was when Miller was actually good. But he wasn’t Patrick Kane. I love that little fucker. He’s exactly like my younger brother. Too much drinking, too many shenanigans, chasing the tail around. My brother grew up, has a wife and two kids, Mr. F’ng Stable these days. Kane seems to have grown up, too and gotten focused. The rest of the NHL should be terrified.

  • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ PowrFwd37

    I bet we could still get Ryan Miller for him.

    Maybe.

    If we throw in Khabibulin….

    • mightymikeD

      also this Quebecois prospect: Sac DeRondelles..

  • bizarrohairhelmet
  • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ PowrFwd37

    All snark aside, beautifully stated, Sam. Love me some Kaner.

    I’ve got me a #19 WC jersey, and I’d been really thinking about adding an 88 late in the regular season.”

    That Conn Smythe performance in the playoffs sealed the deal. I’ll have an 88 in the collection some time soon.

  • justforkicks

    always nice to see the good articles about kaner after all the speculation about him being a bad teammate, what he did in his spare time, and calls to trade him. hopefully i can watch him on the hawks forever.

    also – oblig linkage to Badgerdano’s single fanpost because i always go bad and read it when people are stupid, and it was so great.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I’ve mentioned before that an Army buddy of mine grew up with Kane. He insists Kane is a fantastic human being and, having spoken with him two weeks ago, told me that he has bumped into 88 in Buffalo in the past few weeks and says he’s still the same great guy he grew up with.

      • justforkicks

        aw i love hearing stuff like that. =D

        • Accipiter

          He meant Kane was and still is lazy.

          • justforkicks

            You shut your mouth!!!

        • 10thMountainFire

          I do as well. He also told me that Kaner could pretty much own Buffalo now if he wished.

          • justforkicks

            It’ll be Interesting to see what he does for his cup day this year and how crazy it gets

          • 10thMountainFire

            I would suppose that this time it will not involve a firetruck and a ladder…

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            Why would anyone want to own Buffalo?

      • lizmcneill

        I always get the impression that Kaner was a good kid who was raised by wolves hockey from a formative age and was somewhat spoiled by the child-star factor, hence being both a douchebro and kinda sweet simultaneously. Basically rooting for him to grow up and be ok.

  • 10thMountainFire

    No offense to Ron Santo but Kane, even at 24 years old, is on the verge of eclipsing anything Santo did.

    Santo was a great guy and one of those typical ‘venerated Cubs’ but let’s be honest: he isn’t a Stan Mikita. He’s not a Denis Savard. He’s not Frank Thomas. He’s not Scottie Pippen. He was a great player for a few years but his notoriety as a broadcaster seemed to magnify his play on the field in hindsight. Nellie Fox didn’t get that treatment by Sox fans and most would likely agree that Ron Santo was no Nellie Fox.

    Only Cubs fans could possibly venerate a very good player (and obviously a decent man) like Santo to heights reserved for Sweetness, Butkus, MJ, and Stosh. Don’t take this the wrong way; Santo was a great player. But he’s not Kane.

    Kane is on the verge of belonging in that top tier of Chicago sports greats. So is Toews. In the end, maybe Keith as well. Santo won’t ever belong there.

    Edit: Sam, this isn’t a criticism of your piece. This is just a general statement about Chicago fans over-hyping talent.

    • laaarmer

      Ron Santo – Hall of Fame
      Patrick Kane – 5-6 years pro.

      Hang in there
      EDIT: How old are you?

      • 10thMountainFire

        Yeah, ok. Let’s all just get this on the table. It was a marketing campaign to get Santo in the Hall, ok? Let’s all just be honest. It had a lot to do with Cubdom obsession with the guy. Was he a very good player? Yes. Outstanding. Among the finest of his era at his position. But how many MVPs did he win? How many championships?

        Sorry, Kaner has done more already. I know that bugs Cubs fans (no apologies here… I’m a dirty-ass fucknut South Sider) but come on… Santo had to almost rely on sympathy for the Hall. I am happy he got in but he’s no Patrick Kane.

        • laaarmer

          How old are you?

          • Accipiter

            How old are you ?

          • 1benmenno

            How old are you?

          • 10thMountainFire

            How old are you?

          • 1benmenno

            What are you wearing?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Are we sexting?

          • Paul the Fossil

            WIN.

        • 10thMountainFire

          36.

          And I just realized that I started a really, really stupid argument. I love you.

          • laaarmer

            So, you never really saw him play

          • 10thMountainFire

            Well I never saw Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, or Shoeless Joe Jackson play but I know they’re among the greatest hitters of all-time.

          • laaarmer

            “Yes. Outstanding. Among the finest of his era at his position”
            Banks – Williams – Santo

          • 10thMountainFire

            My question is ‘why did it take so long for him to get into the Hall if he’s so obviously among the best of his position ever?’ Because being in the HoF means you are among the best ever… not just your era. Otherwise, there is an argument for Paul Konerko. And Paulie is my absolute favorite player since Thomas and Fisk but there is a big debate right now whether or not ‘Konerko’ and ‘Hall of Fame’ should be in the same paragraph.

          • laaarmer
          • laaarmer
          • 10thMountainFire

            You make a fantastic argument here in Robinson v Santo. Does this mean Santo > Robinson? Looking at the statistical breakdowns, I would say ‘yes, perhaps’. But is that indicative of Robinson being over-hyped or Santo being among the greatest ever?

            Santo’s numbers were obviously better than Robinson’s (though Santo’s sample was 15 years to Robinson’s 23). Santo hit 300+ more times, 100+ RBI more times, etc. But Yankees fans have been trying to get a guy like 1B Mattingly in for years and we both know Mattingly is not a Hall of Famer. Again, I’m glad Santo got in. He was a great human being by all accounts and a fantastic ballplayer. But he’s not in the ‘MJ-Payton-Thomas-Butkus’ category of Chicago sports. Kane could be very soon.

          • laaarmer

            Robinson was on a winning team. Santo was not.
            Kaner will never approach Jordan. He will eclipse Frank. Don’t get me started again re: Butkus, however, your argument regarding Santo comes to mind.

          • laaarmer

            Frank Thomas or Ryne Sandberg?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Thomas. No question. Best right-handed hitter in his prime I have ever seen.

            After all is said and done with the doping scandal, The Kid and The Big Hurt were the two best hitters of their generation. Period.

          • laaarmer

            Dude. Take it easy.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Calmer than you are. Calmer than you are.

          • laaarmer

            George Brett
            Wade Boggs
            Tony Gwynn
            Derek Jeter
            Suzuki

          • 10thMountainFire

            Agree with all of those. Add Sandberg. As a Sox fan, he was ‘the Cub I loved’. I had a private lunch with him once and he is just a decent a person as he was incredible on the field in his prime. No doubt in my mind whatsoever that he was a first-ballot HoF.

            Gwynn was the best pure hitter I had ever seen until Ichiro. Jeter, Boggs, and Brett are no-doubters.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            It says something for Thomas to have hit 500 + Homers based on the parks he was hitting in.

          • laaarmer

            Frank Thomas is 1st Ballot HOF in my opinion. He deserves it based on his offensive numbers. He was not, however, a complete player. He was slow, and his fielding was suspect. During his last 10 seasons he played 117 games at 1st base total. The rest were as DH. Guy was a great hitter with tremendous power early in his career (about 1/2). We need to be realistic about the type of player he was.

            That being said, based on the list below, he is one of the greatest offensive 1st baseman ever.

            http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hof/hofst1b.shtml

          • 10thMountainFire

            I said ‘hitter’, not ‘player’.

            Ken Griffey, Jr and Frank Thomas were the best hitters in the 90s. No question in my mind whatsoever.

          • laaarmer

            Best hitters with power in the 90′s, otherwise more players need to be included, like Jeter, Ichiro, etc.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I agree with most of what you just said. Bear in mind, however the immortal asterisk: by many accounts, Frank Thomas was robbed of three additional MVP awards: 1995 (Mo Vaughn, steroids), 1996 (Juan Gonzalez, steroids), and 2000 (Jason Giambi, steroids.).

            Given his championship-caliber team play, Kane may very well eclipse Frank Thomas but Thomas is in the ‘Chicago immortals’ with no question whatsoever.

          • SaadBuster

            I’m one of the biggest Cub fans that ever Cubbed, but I love me some Frank Thomas. Guy is legit. Fucking steroid era. Too bad there weren’t more players with half the integrity Big Frank had.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Agree 100%. I can sympathize with the anger The Big Hurt must feel over being robbed somewhat by cheaters during the 90s. I would be bitter, too.

          • Waylon

            and still Sox fans had a nasty habit of calling him “The Big Skirt.” If Thomas has a beef with anyone, it should be with his alleged “fans.”

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            Brooks made the Hall in large part based on his World Series play. Santo, alas, never got the chance to show off his defensive prowess and timely hitting on the baseball world’s biggest stage.

          • Waylon

            yep, if Robinson made it then Santo should have been a lock when he was still alive.

          • neo1978

            Ron Santo is the 4th-8th best Wins Above Replacement third baseman of all time. I like the 7 year WAR number when looking at historical numbers, btw.

            http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/jaws_3B.shtml

            Ron Santo
            WAR 70.6
            7WAR 53.8

            Avg of 13 HOFers at third base
            WAR 67.4
            7WAR 42.6

          • 10thMountainFire

            So, by that metric set, Scott Rolen and Adrian Beltre are Hall of Famers. Nice.

          • neo1978

            And now you know why third baseman have such a hard time making the hall.

          • 10thMountainFire

            To hear Yankee fans claim it, Craig Nettles belongs. Then again, Yankees fans also claim Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and Jorge Posada are Hall of Famers. The rest of the world thinks Yankee fans are fuckin stupid in this regard.

          • neo1978

            I thought Santo was the posterchild of why sabermetrics was useful in comparing players over different eras. I mean if Paul Molitor is the baseline?

            And in the steroid era, Rolen and Beltre are probably too tainted to get in. Jones seems like a lock, but I’m still not sure why certain guys are believed to be clean while others are not. I mean some of these guys failing tests are like 150 pounds.

          • 10thMountainFire

            The guys who are 150 pounds were just as improved by the PEDs as those who bulked like McGwire and Bonds; their quickness was improved… bat speed, reaction time, etc.

          • Accipiter

            I’m 150 lbs. I’ll take some PEDs and report back later.

          • laaarmer

            Ritilin is a PED

          • 10thMountainFire

            So is cocaine. Which is why I maintain Lawrence Taylor does not belong in the Hall of Fame.

          • neo1978

            That was my point. Why is Jones exempt from suspicion merely because he didn’t bulk up?

          • 10thMountainFire

            That’s a very, very good point. Given the extent to which we now see PEDs in that era, it is going to be hard to find even a few players that are proven PED-free.

          • laaarmer

            Posada maybe.
            Nettles was my guy back in the 70′s, but I don’t think so.
            Paul O’Neil, no way
            Bernie. Not sure either

          • Waylon

            The funny thing about your posts is that Thomas was univerally treated like dogshit by most Sox fans, yet he was one of the best who ever played that position, period.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I wouldn’t say he was treated like ‘dogshit’. But there was a segment of the fan base that didn’t appreciate what he was doing while he was doing it. I agree with you there.

          • Waylon

            Yeah, I just remember more than a few of my friends from the South Side always ragging on the guy – I never understood just what their complaints were, and still don’t. Something about him not playing on a busted ankle, or something.

          • 10thMountainFire

            He had some serious foot problems that ended up forcing him out of a lot of games and eroding some power in his later years. I think a lot of Sox fans were just… stupid. Dude was money. Just awesome to watch hit.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            I did….

          • mightymikeD

            XMF & Me are the same age.. I love him. and you, laaarms, of course

          • 10thMountainFire

            I love you and Laaarms more.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            You are all young enough to be my kids. (barely)

          • Joe Banks

            Kids today, huh? – Hey, all of you, GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

        • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

          Ironically, he is the anti Kaner. Where Kane will make the HOF for his offense (if he doesn’t flame out), assuming Santo deserved to make the HOF, it was for his five consecutive gold gloves more than his bat.

          • Paul the Fossil

            He was the best _hitting_ third baseman of the 1960s and _also_ won 5 Gold Gloves. There are literally dozens of inferior players in the HOF.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Robin Ventura won six gold gloves in an era you could argue where it was more difficult than Santo’s.

            I do not for one moment believe Robin Ventura is a Hall of Famer. But the point remains.

          • laaarmer

            Robin Ventura?

            What about Steve Onteveros?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Really? Robin Ventura is comparable to Steve Ontiveros?

          • laaarmer

            For a few minutes.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Actually, Steve Ontiveros is from my neck of the woods. I knew Steve Ontiveros. Steve Ontiveros was a friend of mine. You sir are no Steve Ontiveros.

          • laaarmer

            What makes Venturas era more difficult than Santos?
            Did Ventura have to bat against Bob Gibson and the like with the mound 10 feet high?
            Preposterous statement XMF. Both players played baseball and one was better at his position than the other. Santo

          • 10thMountainFire

            The quality of player, the individual skills, and the modern training regimens make the modern athlete better.

            If you put guys like Justin Verlander back in 1968, he wins 30 games a year.

          • Z-man19

            Not so fast. Lowering the mound is a big fucking deal and batters in those days didn’t have the elbow pads and the general protection of not getting thrown at that they do now. I’m not saying you’re 100% wrong but it’s not as clear cut as you make it.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Those are great points. I think what I’m trying to say is that the raw talent and skill has experienced an evolution that places the players of today far beyond that of most of those of the era prior to 1970 or so.

          • Z-man19

            Maybe, if you could hit in 1970, you’d hit today, same with pitching, the game isn’t that much different IMO

          • laaarmer

            Bullshit.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Maybe I didn’t convey my point clearly enough: the players of today are better conditioned, more skilled due to training, and better all-around athletes. If you could (in a vacuum) place guys like Thomas, Griffey, Pujols, etc back in the 60s, they would dominate. Their numbers would be stupid-good.

            I don’t agree that Ty Cobb, brought to the present time (again, in a vacuum) would hit .350. Think of all the breaking pitches and slew of 100+MPH hurlers today. No way fat ass Babe Ruth hits 60 HR against today’s pitching.

          • laaarmer

            You are making ridiculous statements.
            Babe Ruth hit for average too.

            So, guys back in the 20′s 30′s and 40′s didn’t throw breaking balls? Knuckle balls? Come on. The game was not invented in the 90′s. The best players in the 90′s would have been the best players in any era. AND Vice Versa. This is because they were great players.

            Up until the 70′s Frank Thomas would have had a much shorter career. You going to argue that his last 10-11 years of playing DH were because of an injury. Maybe, but back when Greenberg and the like were playing they had to play in the field too. If they were injured and could not play in the field, they were done.

          • Waylon

            No, Verlander would have pitched nine innings per start unless he was getting shelled, which usually happened to pitchers from the 60′s – he also would’ve suffered an arm injury that would’ve put him out for many games as well. Look at the innings per game from that era, and consider that most rotations were only four – man at the time.

          • 10thMountainFire

            If you think that players on the whole are not better now than they were in the 1960s you’re flat wrong.

            Breaking pitches are improved. Pitchers throw harder. Ballparks are bigger.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      I love Ron Santo, I adore Ron Santo. Ron Santo was one of my heroes growing up as a kid in the late 60′s and early 70′s and you know what? He is STILL one of my heroes.

      But to tell the honest truth, his HOF numbers were borderline at best.

      • Paul the Fossil

        No they really weren’t, see above.

    • Paul the Fossil

      Actually, and I can’t believe I’m saying this as a born and bred Sox fan, but Santo was clearly a greater player than Nellie Fox and about as good overall as Frank Thomas. He deserved the HOF long before actually making it.

      To see that you have to adjust his 7 or 8 best seasons for the era he played in and also realize that in his era no one paid any attention to one of his big strengths which was also one of Thomas’s (drawing lots of walks without sacrificing power). His hitting stats in his prime were _outstanding_, among the best ever put up by a MLB 3B, when adjusted for context. He was miles better as an offensive player than Fox.

      And meanwhile he was a great _defensive_ player as well: 5 consecutive Gold Gloves. That separates him from for example Thomas.

      Put it this way, Brooks Robinson was considered a no-doubt HOFer right? Santo was a far, far better hitter than Brooks Robinson who had exactly one season which could touch Santo’s 6th or 7th best. And meanwhile Robinson was considered the greatest fielding 3B of his time, and his defensive stats do support that judgment, but guess what: Santo was a great fielder in his own right. No question which of them a rational GM would pick for any given game or season or whatever and it isn’t Brooksie.

    • ballyb11

      Greatest (really, the funniest) color man ever. I used to roll on the floor laughing when you’d hear Ron moaning uncontrollably in the background as the Cubs found yet another way to lose.

  • cliffkoroll

    Slow clap. One of your best ever, Sam.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Good article. Essentially, do what you want as long as it doesn’t break the law or affect your on ice performance, but DO NOT DISGRACE THE INDIANHEAD!

    Kaner, have your fun, but take a good long look at Bobby Hull. Is that really where you want to go?

    • Waylon

      I think the lad is figuring that out at this point. If the summer passes without any reported extracurricular douchebaggery, we’ll know the change is permanent.

  • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    I realize this is probably the worst thread to bring this up, but I genuinely believe these are the days Stan should consider trading Kane. The cap isn’t getting any tighter for us with some key positions coming up for new contracts, especially the Captain and the goalie spot. We have a glaring need at 2C, which we’ve all discussed ad nauseum. And that position becomes more important with each season’s added miles on Keith and Seabrook.

    I’m not saying it would be easy, but Kane could bring back almost anyone we wanted for the second centre position, and much more, likely a top-4 defender and a top prospect. Those are riches you can’t just turn away from in a cap world.

    Considering, as well, that it’s easier to build up the right wing from within the organization than it is down the middle, and I think it’s pretty much a no-brainer when all is said and done that I’m pretending it’s April 1st.

    • 10thMountainFire

      2C is going to be an issue for all of us forever. They’re never going to go out and sign a sufficient centerman for that second line. Having Sharp available and Q being unwilling to play #10 there tells me all I need to know.

      Additionally, if you deal Kane, the point of having a 2C is somewhat mitigated simply because you have dealt an elite winger and, prognosticating the near-future, likely 80-90 points a year on the wing.

      A few years ago I was a bit less understated in declaring my love for 88. I said, ‘Anyone who proposes to trade Patrick Kane is fucking stupid.’ Obviously I don’t mean you because I love you. But trading Patrick Kane is an idea I wouldn’t entertain even if I were tied up in a dungeon and someone had a knife to my throat.

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        I agree.

      • Joe Banks

        Philip Danault is the answer at 2C! :)
        2 Cups without a 2C? – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
        Trade Kane? Bawaaaahaha!!!

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        I look forward to the day when we are the first team to win three cups in x years with three different 2C and three different goaltenders.

        • 10thMountainFire

          How dare you assume that Crow is leaving before this season…

          • Accipiter

            He don’t gotta leave.

            The Bulin wall, bro.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I think I just peed myself a little.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            That’s pretty easy to check, eh?

          • Z-man19

            maybe XMF was in the shower

          • 10thMountainFire

            I don’t pee in the shower. I pee in my pants.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            Accipiter can not relate.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            shower? pants?

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Khabi prolly thinks he is owed a cup.

    • lizmcneill

      DOWNBOATED. Why would you trade the the youngest, least historically injured, and most offensively talented of your core? We have 4 elite top-line forwards right now, but trade Kaner and Sharpy or Hoss retires and suddenly you don’t look so good.

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        I agree.

        • lizmcneill

          Maybe I’ll un-downboat you then :)

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            You have to read till the last sentence!

    • Accipiter

      I wasn’t like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere’s a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who’s a hero. The music he’s created over the years, I don’t really listen to it, but the fact that he’s making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I’m selling ? No. Do I know what I’m doing today ? No. But I’m here, and I’m gonna give it my best shot.

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        … perfect selection Except I’m selling a service, not a product; it’s the service of being a little bit of a dickhead.

        • 1benmenno

          Now that Kevin’s gone, someone’s gotta take up the ass-hat slack.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Did you guys bounce Kevin while I was gone?

          • 1benmenno

            After the whole “Happiness is an inside job” debacle, Ahnfire gave him a time-out or something.

          • Preacher

            But in Kevin’s honor, I regularly mention Mike Keenan.

          • 1benmenno

            He offered his honor. She honored his offer. And all night long it was offer and honor.

          • Z-man19

            Blue pills?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Blue in the morning. Red in the afternoon. Advise him to contact his pediatrician about any unwanted side effects.

          • Z-man19

            Gone, he get the hammer or just slink away?

          • 10thMountainFire

            It’s better to burn out than to fade away.

          • Z-man19

            There can be only one

          • 10thMountainFire

            Even Richard Nixon has got it.

      • jackattack

        When I read Sting, I thought you were gonna say Sting the wrestler. And I woulda been pissed, cause fuck Sting the wrestler. Yeah, I said it.

    • Z-man19

      Bored?

  • 10thMountainFire

    I’ll just leave this here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-HhDRnSYlc

  • chidiver

    It may have given us fits whenever Q decided to dress Bollig…

    However, it means the Hawks got to troll St. Louis for his day with the Cup. Happy for any excuse to rub it in!

    Supposedly the first St. Louis area native to get his name on the Cup. Cool.

    http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=679485

    • lizmcneill

      Brandon Bollig has won more Stanley Cups than Backes. Who’s the American hero now?

  • 815Sox

    Excellent article. Well done. It was a joy to watch a fully committed Kane last year. Crazy thing is, he should continue to improve.

  • Paul the Fossil

    Hey the “contact” button on the site doesn’t work (won’t send a message), and I need to communicate with the triumvirate ASAP. Sam, Fels, Hack could somebody please send me an email at paul dot botts at gmail dot com, thanks.

    • Accipiter
      • bizarrohairhelmet

        and cc here:
        hararium@gmail.com

        • Paul the Fossil

          Got it thanks.

          Nothing about the Hawks folks, take a breath. Just a small and likely longshot bidness proposition for the triumvers.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      Sounds like Paul’s got a scoop.

      • robondacob

        Normally, I would just ignore a vague post like that until something actually happens. But since I’m so bored, I’ll make an exception.

        Brb, going to make a tweet speculating that Kane is on the trading block because an anonymous source has some information.

        • lizmcneill

          Bah, now you’ve made me nervous that something is going to happen. Not Kaner traded, but something.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Is it Hossa? Is he in danger?! Tell us right now. You can’t keep this from us. It’s Hossa, isn’t it? It is. I knew it! Tell us what’s wrong! We’ll get a posse over there immediately!

    • justforkicks

      try twitter?

  • 1benmenno

    Bill Murray just tweeted: “When I see lovers’ names carved in a tree, I don’t think it’s cute. I just find it strange how many people have knives on a date.”

    • DesertHawk

      I pretty much always have a knife on me.

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        Gibbs’ rule #1

        • DesertHawk

          After looking it up, cause I had no idea what you were referencing, it’s #9. At least according to the NCIS wiki. But yeah, it’s actually caused me to have to walk all the way back to the car at hockey games, cause I’ve forgotten it was in my pocket.

  • Marian Brossa

    Please tell me that you guys are going to be doing the NHLoN post for Puck Daddy. I’ve been debating internally for the last 36 hours or so, but if the Blackhawks post is as ill- conceived as today’s Bruins post was then the Internet is going to have one angry customer on its hands.

  • laaarmer

    Since we just had the convo regarding Santo and the rest I have a hockey related question
    Would Lafleur, Hull, Esposito (Phil), Orr, Mikita, Dionne, Howe, Mahavolich, etc be as great now as they were then?
    My answer is yes for most of them. Why? Because they would have been playing now. If Bobby Hull had the same workout regimen as Toews or Keith and a different owner, Gretzky would never have caught him.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Such is the nature of sports, and why it’s futile (if still fun) to compare different eras.

      What if Babe Ruth hadn’t spent the first four years of his career as a pitcher (racking up 95 wins and setting a record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched in the world series that held up until Whitey Ford came along)? You could easily add 100 – 150 home runs to the Babe’s record.

      And the Babe’s PED was scotch. Can you imagine Babe Ruth taking just one dose of HGH? 90 home runs in a season seems conservative.

      • Paul the Fossil

        “You could easily add 100 – 150 home runs to the Babe’s record.” Well actually probably not that many, because those years were in the dirty-ball era (misnamed the “dead ball era”) when they used the same ball as long as possible no matter how much the pitchers scuffed and scratched it. And spitballs were legal. Ruth in 1919 hit 29 HRs but it wasn’t until spitballs were banned and they started putting new balls in play, the next year, that he was able to completely rewrite the whole notion of how many HRs were imaginable.

        And then also of course we have to keep in mind that Ruth never had to pitch or bat against a large fraction of the best ballplayers of his time just because they happened to have darker skin than he did.

        • laaarmer

          deleted

          • Accipiter

            The math is solid.

          • laaarmer

            math, it’s not just for assholes anymore.

        • Preacher

          But even with all today’s training, when the players today lift one of the Babe’s actual bats, they can’t believe how heavy it is. Don’t recall who it was, but a few years ago a major leaguer swung an actual Babe bat and said he didn’t know how a guy could hit with a bat that heavy.

          • Paul the Fossil

            It is interesting to contemplate how many more HRs Ruth might have hit if someone had tipped him off to the physics of the thing (that lighter bats with thinner handles would have provided him more power than the telephone poles that had been a defensive adaptation to conditions of the “dead ball” era). E=1/2mv2 and all that…

          • Paul the Fossil

            Well sure, no guy including Ruth would be able to against today’s pitching.

    • Paul the Fossil

      I agree overall, yea: the unique talents would still be the unique talents. What’s so different now is not so much the top of the NHL talent pool but the middle and bottom layers of it: literally half the NHL regulars of say the 1970s didn’t have enough raw ability to even reach today’s league. The talent pool that the league draws from is just so much larger now, has expanded much more than has the number of teams in the league.

      But the above, if correct, does place an important caveat on the “be as great now” part. Since the floor of NHL talent/skill has risen so much — the slowest NHL skater today is a much better hockey player than was the slowest NHL skater of 1983 or 1973 or 1963 — it means that the great ones don’t stand out as much statistically. Bobby Hull playing today after having been raised and trained in the modern era would be kicking ass and taking names all over the place but he wouldn’t lead the league in goals by a 50 percent margin (!) over the next highest goal scorer as he did in 1962. Phil Esposito today would be great but he wouldn’t be putting up 2 ppg for entire seasons. Etc. Simply because they wouldn’t have the same degree of slow/marginal athletes to dance around as they did then.

      • laaarmer

        But you miss the point. The training methods and specialization today are why the guys are faster. They are playing in todays environment. You cannot pick Richard from 1946 and put him on the ice today, although he would probably kill somebody while playing. If Richard is born in 1988 and plays hockey, he is the best payer in the game, unless Howe, Hull, and Esposito, etc. are born at the same time.

        • Paul the Fossil

          Right, he’d be the best player in the game, I agree. (Or Howe would, or whatever.) I’m just saying that the _statistical_ differences from the best to the rest would be smaller.

          The training methods and specialization are why the average hockey player today is faster, absolutely. That’s different from why the _median_ NHL regular is faster today and also the difference from best to worst within the NHL is now much smaller. (If you can locate a copy of the Stephen Jay Gould essay “Why No One Hits .400 Anymore” he explains it way better than I am doing.)

          Also we haven’t even touched on the change in goaltending from Richard’s/Hull’s/Greztky’s era to now. That is a huge change not just in training, and not just in the level of athlete who chooses to become goalies, but in the whole concept of the position. Hull and Mikita actually have commented on that point many times in recent years. Actually Chelios has said that just about the difference in goaltending from the start and end of his NHL playing career (i.e. from the 1980s to a few years ago).

          • Preacher

            “we haven’t even touched on the change in goaltending”
            Actually, I just did in a comment above.

          • Z-man19

            I would tend to agree with you on the talent pool being better, however, there are more teams today and more players so there are more guys in the talent pool. I don’t think the great ones from years past would stand out any more than the great ones today do. Gretzky, Hull, etc. would be great in today’s game but I don’t think they’d be head and shoulders above today’s stars

    • Preacher

      This is a hard discussion to have. Fitness, training, all the film work they do now—totally different from earlier eras. Now, put the old guys in today’s world with the same approach, and yes, I think they’d be playing. At least some of them. But not in the same way. For instance, I don’t think that with the goal tending coaches and all the extra “training” goalies have now, you would see someone like Gretzky scoring 92 goals in a year. He’d be good, no doubt, but not nearly as dominant. And aren’t players today actually physically bigger on average than the old guys were? Is that a product of training? Selective breeding? Chemicals?

      • Z-man19

        The average human is bigger today than 30 years ago

        • Accipiter

          Not me.

          • Z-man19

            Good thing it’s not 30 years ago, you’d be smaller

          • Accipiter

            and younger.

          • laaarmer

            You’d be 30 years smaller

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            and 30 years more full of semen.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Yeah, what about the below-average humans?

          • laaarmer

            You mean sub-humans?

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            and birds of prey apparently…and sub-geniuses

          • laaarmer

            as a sub-genius, I take offense at the idea that I am somehow more sub-genius than I was 30 years ago.

          • Z-man19

            Reality is a bitch

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            you look a little subbier

          • laaarmer

            I feel subby

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Praise Bob!

          • laaarmer

            I just traded all my shares of Sonoco over the phone

          • 10thMountainFire

            Well, you’re definitely more drunk than you were 30 years ago.

        • Preacher

          I am definitely bigger than I was 30 years ago. Heck, than 2 years ago. Getting old and fat is not a good thing.

      • 2883

        Science

    • 10thMountainFire

      Your logic defeats itself. Gretzky would have caught Hull because Gretzky’s workout regimen and training would have been in the same era as Hull.

      • laaarmer

        Nope

        • 10thMountainFire

          Intelligent Design strikes again.

          • laaarmer

            yep

  • Z-man19

    Watching game 7 of 94 finals on NHLN, no two line pass, no trapezoid, guys with no helmet, Larmer playing, Keenan on the bench. Game doesn’t seem a ton different, maybe a bit slower pace

    • Accipiter

      ’94 Keenan.
      and Bure.

      • laaarmer

        But Larmer was so small. He could never play in todays fast paced era.
        xmf’d

        • Accipiter

          You mean because of the internet and cell phones and stuff ?

          • Z-man19

            Stuff is way different now

          • laaarmer

            Yes, that is exactly what I mean.

          • 10thMountainFire

            You are exactly one step from denying evolution.

          • laaarmer

            I used to be a lemur, but I evolved into what I am now.

        • 10thMountainFire

          You’re going to get cut.

          • Accipiter

            I am a chain belt in Kung Fu.
            Bruce Lee was my teacher.

            That’s the “quart of blood” technique.
            Do it, a quart of blood drops out of a body.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I don’t believe in belts.

          • Accipiter

            Karate men bruise on the inside.

            They don’t show their weaknesses.

  • Paul the Fossil

    Fun article about former indianhead Steve Sullivan (who I recall as being for a couple of seasons just about the best thing on the team in the late dead-puck era).
    And it centers on a funny incident that occurred in a Hawk game:

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/70264/good-bye-steve-sullivan-fans-of-karmic-payback-will-miss-you

    • Preacher

      Sully was always a favorite of mine. Was sorry to see him go to another team.

      • bizarrohairhelmet

        Poor Sully. For many of us he had the impossible task of replacing JR. I remember every year thinking he or Dubinsky or someone would explode and be the Hawk player that could fire up the team, only to have $Bill Potter dash them cruelly with his checkbook with its custom puppy and kitten fur cover.

  • duncans peace pipe

    Kaner definitely rides with the windows down and the AC on like Do or Die.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Just announced: Marian Hoosa is the new Doctor Who.

    • lizmcneill

      But isn’t Kane the Doctor?

  • Fleshrifle

    Great Canadian Speeches…Vol. XIII…
    Fucking right Chicago
    Biggest bunch of beauties in the league
    Fucking worked their nuts off for this trophy
    No one will ever take this away from us
    We’re the Champs

  • 10thMountainFire

    Looking ahead to next year, it’s obvious that the PP will be a focus for improvement. I still like the idea first posed here on Committed Indian to hire Jamal Mayers as a ‘Power Play Special Assistant’. Mayers can be brought in to punch each player in the face for particularly egregious Power Plays.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      I’d be in favor of Gene Hunt as PP coach. “Move yer arse, sunshine.”

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      We should just hire snugglesoft for that. Nobody would want to come back off the PP shift without scoring.

  • 1benmenno

    I know where you guys are: checking out the gif contest on SCH.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      No, that is a totally different Sparky The Barbarian with a coincidentally identical avatar.

      • 1benmenno

        My insincerest apologies.

  • 1benmenno

    Come November, we’ll get to watch another one of these:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dLkUREmpBU

  • StealingHappyHour

    I look forward to the future when Teuvo and Kaner are out on the ice for the Blackhawks in 4-4 OT. It’s going to be fucking hilarious and awesome.