Kane answers criticism, wins Conn Smythe trophy

Kane answers criticism, wins Conn Smythe trophy

June 24, 2013, 10:00 pm
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The call –- or maybe call-out, of sorts -- from coach to player went out prior to the Chicago Blackhawks’ Game 4 against the Los Angles Kings. Patrick Kane wasn’t playing in his typical Kane way, and coach Joel Quenneville wanted more.

Kane responded the way he usually does when the stage gets bigger and the spotlight hotter: he scored and assisted and skated and got back to being the top playmaker in this league. And his late postseason work earned him a little extra hardware.

Kane was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Assocation, for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Kane had nine goals and 10 assists in the postseason, with six of those goals coming in the last seven games.

For Kane, it was a nice ending to an intense and rewarding postseason.

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“It’s an unbelievable feeling. My head’s spinning,” Kane said on the ice minutes after the Blackhawks claimed their second Cup in the past four seasons. “(The Conn Smythe) wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates. Other guys could have won it, too. (Goaltender Corey) Crawford probably got snubbed a little bit. It’s a great feeling.”

It was in the middle of the Western Conference Final series when Kane was being questioned the most for his play, or lack thereof at that time. Quenneville was right there with the demand, saying “we need more” from Kane. Kane was noticeable in the first round against Minnesota, at least in the assist department. But the goals were few and far in between. Kane, heading into Game 4 against the Kings, said he watched film of some of his past postseason goals. He worked on a few things. Whether it was changing something, getting inspired by those past goals, whatever, it worked.

“You know, I don't really have a specific answer,” Kane said of his resurgence. “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. It ended up working out. I mean, you're playing with two great players with (Jonathan) Toews and (Bryan) Bickell. They made hockey really easy the past couple weeks for me.”

[GET CHAMPS GEAR: Shop now for Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup Champions gear]

The three came up with a new nickname for Kane, too.

“'Benefish', for (being) the beneficiary of all their hard work,” Kane said with a smile. “I had a couple of chances to finish and ended up doing that, so got to give them the credit.”

Kane’s finish was more noticeable as the postseason games got bigger. He came up with big goals, including the biggest, for the 2010 Cup. He collected a few more –- and another trophy or two –- this time around.

“I’ve faced a lot with the media in my career. Sometimes you’ve got to dig down deep,” Kane said “I feel that I’m a great player and can be a great player. It’s all about what you can do and what your teammates can do for you.”