Here we are… Another year of Stanley Cup Playoffs & another year of Sabres fans watching from the sidelines. But fear not hockey fanatics, all is not lost! Our local sports writers and talk show hosts have got it covered! You see, they will continue to drone on and on about Patrick Kane… BECAUSE HE’S FROM BUFFALO if you weren’t aware.
If you were sensing some hostility in my introduction there give yourself a cookie because you are on the money. I am SO sick and tired of Buffalo sports personalities finding a way to tie in Patrick Kane’s success to WNY because no one has anything else to talk about. The NFL offseason is in that awkward spot where the draft is over and we are waiting for training camp to begin (unless you get all pumped up over OTA’s, which is practically no one.) And unless your NHL team is duking it out for a shot at Lord Stanley’s Cup, you are forced to read about the NHL Combine while waiting for the draft, which again, unless you are a writer or a super duper fan, the average person doesn’t really care…
That leads us to Patrick Kane. Local talk show hosts and newspaper columnists have to discuss/write stuff that they know people want to hear/read. Unlike a blogger like myself, where I can basically write any damn thing that pops into my mind regardless of what you all think, the pros have to worry about how many ears/eye balls they are attracting. Luckily for those folks, and I mean this as respectfully as possible, Ralph Wilson died opening up the black hole of discussion regarding the next owner of the Bills, relocation talks, new stadium locations, etc, etc. Basically Ralph’s passing provided ALMOST enough content to get the local sports media through the dreaded summer dry months (because who really wants to hear about the Bisons…?)
Unfortunately we find ourselves back in a similar situation as in past years, where the Blackhawks have fought their way deep into the NHL Playoffs on the heels of superb play by Patrick Kane. Now if you’re from Buffalo, you either love, or hate Patrick Kane depending on how old you are and what you really know about him. If you just take into account Kane’s on-ice play, it’s hard not to like the guy. He’s one of the best players in the league and shows up in the clutch year in and year out. However, being his age and having friends who grew up playing hockey with him (or more accurately stood on the ice and watched him skate circles around everyone else,) his off-ice persona is a different story. Ranging from major incidents that were newsworthy such as the time he beat up and cab driver in Buffalo, to more minor “A Hole- star athlete moments,” like telling girls to turn around in a bar and then responding, “Hey, guess what? I just made $100,000,” or having ‘relations’ with a chick and then telling her “NHL Rookies of the Year don’t do sleepovers…” You get the idea.
Frankly how he acts off the ice isn’t a concern to me. It’s that we continue to force this absurd connection here locally to him. Yes his family resides in Buffalo. Yes he brings the Cup here every time the Hawks win it all. But do we really need to make this a yearly thing? It’s like the moment the Sabres are out of contention we go to our consolation prize of Patrick Kane. People do realize there are other players on the Blackhawks right? He isn’t out there by himself… It’s not the Chicago Kanes.
This whole situation gets on my nerves because it feels so desperate to me. Why do we need to latch onto a guy that is from Buffalo, but is in no way, shape, or form connected to our pro teams here? We can’t think of anything else to talk about right now? I understand by writing my entire column about this, I may come across as a hypocrite in some ways, but this has boiled over to the point where I needed to vent. I mean in the midst of a superb NBA and NHL playoff push, not to mention some stellar MLB games, WGR had a poll going about the greatest athletes to ever come from Buffalo and whether Pat Kane was at the top of the list…
I think it secretly (or not so secretly depending on who you ask) ties back to the fact that Sabres fans hold out this incredible dream that one day Kane is going to say, “F winning! I want to come back home!!!” and take whatever salary Pegula and the Sabres throw his way. My issue with that is what the heck will the local sports media talk about when the Sabres AND Kane aren’t playing come Cup Finals time?!?!?
It’s fine to be proud of a local product for doing great things out in the world. We have a lot of noteworthy people who have left Buffalo and made us all proud. I just would prefer if we didn’t have to act like Patrick Kane excelling in the playoffs, or winning the Stanley Cup has absolutely anything to do with any of us here… because it doesn’t.
Tweet of the Week:
Have your own opinion on this week’s column or a topic you want featured in next week’s column? Get at me on Twitter: @BradleyGelber