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Stan Bowman: Patrick Kane 'absolutely' in Hawks' long-term plans

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Stan Bowman, speaking to reporters for the first time in nearly two months, said the Blackhawks don’t feel vindicated by Patrick Kane’s spectacular start to the season, and that Kane “absolutely” is still in the team’s long-term plans despite the three-month police investigation into a sexual-assault accusation — which yielded no charges — made in early August.

“I don’t look at any vindication,” Bowman said of the organization’s decision to keep Kane active during the investigation. “It’s not about that for me or for us. It’s really about just moving forward with things. And I think Patrick’s been the best player in the league in the first 20 games. He’s certainly been our best player. … That’s the only way I would look at that. I’m not going to characterize anything other than [we’re] happy to see the way he’s playing.”

Bowman declined to discuss the fact — first reported by the Sun-Times — that at least five teams contacted the Hawks about making a trade for Kane in the wake of the allegation, calling it a “trap question.”

But when asked if Kane was in the team’s long-term plans, he said, “Oh, absolutely. You can’t find talent like Patrick. You look at what he’s done over the course of his career, whether it’s this season, last season, or since he was a rookie and won rookie of the year. He’s been a game-changer.”