The Blackhawks played a hockey game Wednesday, losing 3-2 in overtime to the Maple Leafs — their seventh loss in as many games to start the season.
With the dark cloud of reckoning hanging over the organization, however, the game didn’t seem as significant.
Captain Jonathan Toews, who was activated from the NHL COVID-19 protocol shortly before warmups, and Patrick Kane, who spoke from COVID protocol at home, addressed former Hawks forward Kyle Beach’s interview about his sexual-assault experience.
“I knew Kyle pretty well,’’ Kane said. ‘‘He seemed like a happy-go-lucky guy. I wish back then we could’ve done some different things or known some different things to help him.”
Kane said he never heard about Beach’s 2010 experience but did recall hearing some “vague rumors” about former video coach Brad Aldrich’s departure from the organization. Toews said he learned about the incident at training camp the next year.
“Not that it was a joke, but it was something that wasn’t taken super-seriously at the time,” Toews said. “I thought Brad being let go or resigning from the organization was the way it was dealt with. ... Had I been more connected to the situation and known some of the more gory details of it, I’d like to say, yeah, I would’ve acted differently in my role as captain.”
Toews defended disgraced general manager Stan Bowman and executive Al MacIsaac, calling them “good people” who weren’t “directly complicit in the activities that happened.”
“To me, Stan and Al, make any argument you want, they’re not directly complicit in the activities that happened,” Toews said. “Regardless of mistakes that may have been made, for someone like Stan, who has done so much for the Blackhawks — and Al, as well — to lose everything they care about and their livelihoods as well ... I don’t understand how that makes it go away, to just delete them from existence and [say], ‘That’s it, we’ll never hear from them again.’”
Kane took a more nuanced approach, thanking Bowman for helping his career but describing the Hawks moving on from him as “necessary” and “right.”
Kane also said he knew Beach from Beach’s time at various Hawks training camps; Kane, Beach and Akim Aliu would often hang out together.
“I don’t know if he wants to hear from us or not, but I’d like to reach out to him and say that I wish I knew more at that time in that situation, if I could’ve done anything to help him out,” Kane said. “Obviously, he’s been living with this a long time, and it takes a lot of courage by him to put his name behind the story.”
Toews and Kane said they didn’t witness any homophobic slurs directed at Beach during his stints in the NHL.
On the ice Wednesday, Alex DeBrincat — who earlier in the day called Bowman’s resignation “a change that needed to happen” — almost single-handedly willed the Hawks to victory.
But the Leafs rallied from 2-0 down, tying the game on ex-Hawks forward David Kampf’s backhand and winning on William Nylander’s breakaway goal.