-- Patrick Kane
had only one day to plan his costume and routine for the Allstate Insurance NHL Breakaway Challenge. That was enough time for him to turn into a hero Saturday night.
Kane took the puck at center ice and skated toward goaltender Brian Elliott. The Blackhawks star came to a stop at the blue line, where he was presented with a Superman cape and Clark Kent glasses by teammate Marian Hossa. Now costumed, Kane skated toward Elliott, dove onto his stomach, knocked the puck with his left glove over to the stick in his right hand, and beat Elliott in the night's most memorable moment.
"Our PR guy, Brandon Faber, I told him about the idea," said Kane, who won the event by receiving 47 percent of the fan vote via text. "He went out to a costume shop with my mom and dad, and they got the cape and got the glasses. They had some other ideas for sparklers on my skates, but I wasn't going to try to burn myself on the ice out there. They did a great job of getting everything for me."
Kane said he drew inspiration from Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, who donned a Superman cape during the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2008. While Kane was faster than a speeding bullet, Howard was leaping tall buildings.
In the end, both emerged victorious with a mix of theatrics and skill.
"I really didn't care about scoring," Kane said. "I was more about the whole presentation."
Kane didn't just wing it during the Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition. He arrived early to Scotiabank Place on Saturday to practice the Superman move. He kept the idea to himself until later in the afternoon.
"He told me the idea today on the bus and said he needed some help so I said sure," said Hossa the accomplice. "When he told me about it, I said it sounds pretty cool. It wasn't easy to do, but he did it extremely well."
Like a true showman, Kane saved something extra for the encore.
Still wearing the cape and glasses, Kane readied for his third and final shot. Instead of some fancy stickhandling, Kane showed his super strength by uncorking a slap shot that shattered the puck into four pieces.
It wasn't a trick puck, but there was a secret to the 181-pound Kane muscling up.
"It was actually a real puck," Kane explained. "We cut it up and glued it back together. That was the best way to work it. We cut it up into four pieces and put it together with the glue so it would work pretty easy. I was a little disappointed none of them went into the net. When I was doing it this morning, I had like three in the net sometimes. It was pretty cool."
Elliott, who played Lex Luthor to Kane's Superman, said he received no advance notice about the trickery.
"He didn't tell me anything," Elliott said. "I'm glad I closed my eyes on the exploding puck, because I didn't want one of those in my eye. I think it's a good idea just to have fun with it. Those will be the highlights tomorrow morning. I think a lot of kids will try that Superman move next time they're on the ice."
Lightning star Steven Stamkos, who won the Tim Hortons NHL Elimination Shootout, is somewhat familiar with Kane's diving Superman move. As a rookie at the 2009 All-Star Game in Montreal, Stamkos did a similar move where he dove, knocked the puck with his right hand to his stick in his left hand, and beat the goaltender.
"I think he tried it first and missed," Stamkos said. "That might be his original move.
"It was fun. That’s what these events are for. To be creative. Patrick Kane has a pretty creative personality and we saw that tonight. You can see it in his play, he’s one of the most exciting players in the game and if you’re going to do something like that, this is the event to do it in. The crowd seemed to like it.
Superman won't be the end of Kane's creativity. If he winds up at the All-Star Game in Columbus in 2013, he'll have a full year to work out something even better.
"I just had fun with it," Kane said. "I thought it was a cool event. I like to do it. If I ever come back again, maybe I'll do something different."