By Mike Olson
Earlier in the summer I did an article on “NHL Crimes” that featured the Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, but before the season started his charges were acquitted due to lack of evidence. Now Kane is making history as he has recorded at least one point in 21 straight games, which happens to be the longest streak by an American born player. Let that stat sink in. I don’t know about you but that makes me feel pretty proud as an American sports fan.
Kane has done everything a 27 year old could dream of. He was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007, and his rookie year was nothing but stellar, scoring 21 goals and 51 assists for a total of 72 points as he went on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded for being rookie of the year. In the Winter Olympics in 2010 he won the silver medal for team USA, and capped that year by scoring the game winning goal in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers, becoming the youngest player to score a game winning goal in the Finals. Five years later and Kane now has three championship rings winning the cup in 2013 and 2015.
And going along with the greatness of Chicago’s modern day dynasty is what the 27 year old phenom has been able to accomplish on an individual level. Kane’s streak of 21 games is very impressive and just when the incredible streak looks like it’s going to be snapped he finds a way to dish out a fancy pass to get the assist or do what he does best and beat the goalie with a quick shot late in the game. Still he has a LONG way to go for the record that is currently belongs to two of the greatest players ever, held by Wayne Gretzky at 51 games and Mario Lemieux at 46 games.
Kane is so calm and cool about the streak it seems that he can keep the streak going. The crazy part of this whole situation is the fact that this might be the best Kane has every played in his career, which should have fans around the league worried. Patrick Kane has been the leader of the best franchise in hockey the past 5 years and the fact that he is still improving means the NHL got that much harder to win for every other team. Kane can single handedly take over a game and leaves the opposing coaching staff with headaches.
There have been a lot of successful US born hockey players such as Brian Leetch, Pat LaFontaine, Jeremy Roenick, and Chris Chelios just to name a few. And I take nothing away from what those players have done, but when Kane decides to hang up his skates and retire I believe Kane will go down as the most successful US born player. His numbers per season are already similar to the aforementioned American born hockey greats and he has yet to fully hit his stride, as he is on pace this season to obliterate his career bests in goals, assists, points, and plus/minus. Throw in his already extremely accomplished team success and Kane could very well end his career as the most highly regarded American hockey star to ever lace them up.