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What to do about Patrick Kane?

What do we do about Patrick Kane?

The brilliant Blackhawks winger has helped the team win three Stanley Cups in six years, and for that alone he is likely a future Hall of Famer.

And, my God, he’s only 26. With his skills, he could easily play until his mid-30s or later. His offensive stats could be overwhelming by the end.

But that is if he doesn’t detonate somewhere off the ice.

Kane is the party boy we all have been much too eager to say has changed, matured, grown out of old habits. We want to believe that is true, because we think it’s possible and good and soothing and proper.

Share Events on The CubeBut we’ve been basing it on nothing but hope.

We sure haven’t been basing it on Kane.

Blackhawk sources have said team president John McDonough was volcanically outraged when news of Kane’s recent troubles in Buffalo surfaced. One of the Blackhawks main security men immediately flew on a private jet to Buffalo to dampen the flames. But you can’t put out what has jumped the fire pit.

And though Erie County, N.Y. district attorney Frank A. Sedita, III has not filed charges against Kane, and may never do so, even as the investigation continues, the damage to Kane in the court of public opinion—and thus the Blackhawks—is massive.

How do you celebrate a Stanley Cup win when your favorite, smiling, rebellious, devious, hard-drinking little magician is under a dangerous cloud?

You don’t.

You can’t fake happy.

You can’t pretend it’s not put there.

NHL training camp starts soon, and the Blackhawks will be raising the Cup banner and holding the championship ceremony before the season opener against the New York Rangers on October 7 at the United Center. How much fun will that be?

Oh, it will be raucous. You could raise a skate sharpener into the rafters at the UC, and the Hawks crowd would go wild.

But it will be false at its core.

Unless Kane is absolved by the law and opinion before then, and McDonough somehow turns the “kid’’ into a new man—maybe one who needs to admit to a problem and go to alcohol or drug rehab—then the ceremony will ring hollow.

Even if Kane isn’t on the team, if he’s been dumped somewhere else, taken by a contender eager to snatch his talents, it’ll be hurtful.

One way or another, the happy times for the Blackhawks will seem like ancient times.