The following is excerpted from the October 2016 issue of Blackhawks Magazine, featuring Patrick Kane. Pick up a copy at the next Blackhawks home game, or by calling the Blackhawks Store at 312-759-0079.
Not by choice, Patrick Kane had to exclude playing hockey from last June's itinerary. His trophy case, however, was otherwise occupied.
The Blackhawks' superstar right wing went to the National Hockey League Awards ceremony in Las Vegas, and what happened there did not stay there. Before Kane departed, what was billed as an internationally televised coronation for the game's elite turned out to be a personal hardware convention.
In a landslide, Kane earned the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player, an apt exclamation point to the best season (so far) by this 27-year-old prodigy. While in town, Kane also received the Ted Lindsay Award recognizing the outstanding individual performer of 2015-16, as voted on by fellow players.
Why, Kane's winter was so spectacular that he arrived in the city that never sleeps with yet another memento already secure. Having amassed 46 goals and 60 assists in 82 regular-season games, Kane procured the Art Ross Trophy as NHL scoring champion, the first American-born player to be so honored. Kane romped there, too, accumulating 17 more points than the incumbent, Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars.
"A pretty amazing night," Kane recalled. "You get there, humbled even to be nominated, and of course not knowing what will happen. I had a bunch of friends tell me, going in there, 'Don't worry about the MVP, it's a lock.' But that's what friends say, you know? They're not going to tell you you're not going to win. When your name is called…it took awhile to sink in."
Kane's anxiety was unfounded. Benn and Sidney Crosby of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins were Hart finalists, but expert panelists surely acknowledged Kane's remarkable 26-game point streak as just a slice of his trademark reliability, night after night. Kane received 121 of the 150 first-place ballots.
"Those other two guys were also deserving," Kane went on. "Jamie Benn, how can you argue against him? He had another great year. Crosby, what he did toward the end of the season just to get his team in a position to win the Cup was terrific. He told our agent, Pat Brisson, before we went to Vegas that he would have been surprised if I hadn't won it. Which was nice."