SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Patrick Kane is focused on hockey.
“I’m excited to be here at camp, just like all the players. It’s good to see your teammates, especially after a long summer,” Kane said. “I think we’re all excited to be here. We’re excited to be at training camp, looking forward to the new season ahead of us and trying to do what no team has done in a long time, and that’s repeat. So, looking forward to that.”
It figures the ice and the reception of his teammates would be welcome for Kane, who reported Thursday for the start of Blackhawks training camp despite being involved in an ongoing police investigation in Western New York. When he’s on the ice he can’t be asked about what happened, what will happen, or anything else.
He can just play.
“I’m excited to be here at camp and I’m really happy to be here at Notre Dame. Like I said, it’s a great venue,” said Kane, who added he feels like he’s “in really good shape.”
“There’s so much history and we’ve had some success coming here in the past and it’s seemed like it’s worked so I pride myself in starting off the season on a good note, having a good camp and I’m trying to use that to propel my way into the regular season.”
Nobody knows what will have happened with Kane’s situation by the time the Hawks open the season Oct. 7 against the New York Rangers. But in the interim, he can play hockey and be in his element.
“As he commented earlier, I think he’s excited to be here, to be back on the ice and be around his teammates and being in a familiar environment where that’s what he can be,” Jonathan Toews said. “He can focus on his job and I think the rest of us want to do the same. That’s kind of what we’re here to do this weekend and I’m looking forward to getting things started.”
Perhaps, but the questions and whispers and reports won’t go away. Yet the Hawks are trying to avoid turning Kane’s predicament into a distraction.
“Whatever the situation is, one thing about our group, they’re committed (to) their priorities as far as focus and playing that game and doing whatever they can to max out in that situation is as good as I’ve ever seen,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “The leadership group leads the charge in that area. In all situations, they find a way to overcome any obstacle. It’s never a concern with me.”
So, will the Hawks be affected by what’s going on?
“I think we’ll be fine,” Quenneville said.