Patrick Kane of Team Chara scores past Team Alfredsson goaltender Jonathan Quick in the second period Sunday. “This is all about the fans,” he said. | Sean Kilpatrick~AP
Updated: March 1, 2012 8:40AM
OTTAWA — Before Blackhawks All-Star forward Patrick Kane turned into Superman, he preferred the look of the Caped Crusader. He wanted to be like Batman when he was a kid.
“Everywhere we went, he wore one of my hats and a black cape,” Kane’s mother, Donna, told the Sun-Times Sunday at Scotiabank Place. “Then he’d have a Batman T-shirt on and Batman sneakers and maybe a sword or something. Everywhere he went, he had it on.”
To Kane’s parents, Donna and Pat Sr., what their eldest child did in the skills competition with the Superman cape and exploding puck was true to his fun-loving and competitive personality. He wanted to win and have fun doing so.
“This is all about the fans, and you try to make them happy,” Kane said after scoring a goal in Team Chara’s 12-9 victory over Team Alfredsson in the All-Star Game.
While Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin pulled out of the festivities, Kane kept the fans in mind. It’s one of his more endearing qualities, and one some forget.
“He knows how special it is to be here,” Donna said.
Come Monday, reality will set in for Kane. He’s still in a slump by his standards, and he’s bearing the brunt of the criticism for the Hawks’ struggles.
No Hawks player takes more heat than Kane for his play on the ice or what he does — or allegedly does — off it. No player has more stories written about his maturity. And no player is more sought after with cellphone cameras.
Much of it is unfair to the 23-year-old.
“I told Pat it is unfair,” Donna said. “You can’t have a bad day. I can go to a grocery store and get mad at the person cashing out, but you can never do that. You always have to be aware of that. It is unfortunate, but this is what it is, and there is nothing you can do.
“I think Wayne Gretzky said it a long, long time ago: They’ll either love you or hate you. There is nothing in between. One day they might love you, and one day they might hate you, and I think he’s learning to accept that.”
As a former No. 1 pick, Kane handles criticism better than most his age, and even some veterans.
“He would want it no other way,” Pat Sr. said. “Let’s criticize, because if he’s not doing his job, we all want him to do his job. But you know what? He wants to do his job. He doesn’t want to become a 30- or 40-point guy. We all know what he wants.”
That’s to be one of the NHL’s best.
“He knows what people expect from him,” Donna said. “But what people don’t understand is that Patrick expects even more than what everybody else expects of him.”
After the All-Star break last season, Kane had 14 goals and 36 points in 32 games for a point-per-game season. A similar ending could be in the works for a player who tends to rise to the occasion.
When Kane was younger, his uncle John “Circ” Kane, who is in a circus, encouraged him when he was in juniors to wave to the crowd, which included family and friends, from the team bus.
“I said, ‘There is no way he’s going to do that,’ ” Pat Sr. said. “Sure enough, Pat comes out of the bus and gives a big wave. It made the whole night. It was that little extra that he learned to give to make it special.”