Pressure brings out best in playoff MVP Patrick Kane
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 24, 2013 10:23PM
Updated: June 25, 2013 1:31AM
BOSTON — Patrick Kane stood against the wall downstairs in the TD Garden, overlooking the mass of media assembled to cover him, the Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins.
Kane’s family stood at his side, a new Stanley Cup championship hat was on his head and a new trophy was nearby to call his own for the 2013 postseason — the Conn Smythe Trophy.
“It’s unbelievable to be in this situation,” Kane said.
For Kane, who was voted the most valuable player to his team this postseason by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, this is redemption.
No Hawk garners more headlines for off-the-ice matters than Kane. No Hawk has his maturity questioned year after year after year. No Hawk is more mercurial.
Yet, it’s very clear. The Hawks wouldn’t be here — a two-time champion in four seasons — if it were not for the former first overall pick from South Buffalo. When the stage got bigger, so did the small-in-stature Kane. When the Hawks needed him to be at his best, Kane was.
“I thank the Blackhawks for sticking with me through the tough times — the adversity,” Kane said on the ice during the celebration. “There have been some highs and lows — and it has all paid off.”
Kane didn’t show up on the scoresheet in the clinching Game 6 against the Bruins. There was no awkward game-winning goal from a bad angle to talk about.
But there are a team-best 19 points (nine goals) in 23 playoff games. There were two goals in Game 5 of the Final, his hat trick in the decisive game against the Los Angeles Kings and the 10 points he amassed in the final 10 postseason games.
Much of his late success had to do with being reunited with Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell. As always, Kane gave them credit.
“I think it was Game 4 in L.A., I knew I needed to get the puck and start moving with it and try to create some chances,” Kane said. “It ended up working out. I mean, you’re playing with two great players with Toews and Bickell. They made hockey really easy the past couple weeks for me. We actually came up with a name for myself this morning, calling me the ‘Benefish,’ for the beneficiary of all their hard work.”
Well, the “Benefish” can also be called a playoff MVP.