So our friend Greg Boysen, who works for about 45 different sites now, tweeted out this little nugget from EJ Hradek on MSG last night. Well, actually Hradek was on MSG on Monday but we got it yesterday anyway you get it shut up. It’s a quick story, but basically Hradek reported that the Hawks didn’t want Patrick Kane to attend camp and did try and actively keep him from attending.
That’s nice… except if you think about it for more than four consecutive seconds it pretty much seems like utter bullshit.
First, Hradek is a made guy in the NHL. He’s the host of their daily show NHL Live both on the network and on Sirius, as well as a reporter for NHL.com. He doesn’t just say stuff to say stuff, and he’s certainly not going to say stuff that’s going to be in direct contrast with what the NHL and/or one of its teams wants out there. So he’s credible, this isn’t just some rumor guy, but he’s also under the same roof as those he’s reporting on. With something like this, you’d have to assume he’d have to be damn sure it was ok to say, even if it was on MSG and not the NHL Network or Radio itself.
Secondly, we already know there is language in the CBA that could have kept Kane out of camp, either from the Hawks or the NHL. If the Hawks were really up for a fight, they would have taken on the players union in whatever grievance there might have been. They didn’t.
Thirdly, if the Hawks truly were having Kane in camp through very gritted teeth, you probably wouldn’t parade him in front of the press, declare your unabashed support, give him a platform to declare his innocence, and then let his teammates talk about how great it is that he gets the biggest cheers when he steps on the ice. At least you wouldn’t if you were even halfway competent at your jobs.
I’ll give the Hawks this, perhaps they thought they were putting Kane on media blast the same way they did to Crawford when he hurt himself at the House of Blues. While they knew there wouldn’t be anything Kane could answer, maybe they thought Kane basically having to embarrass himself in front of the press was the best punishment they could come up with at the time. They just didn’t figure they would look just as bad I guess. But that seems a reach. Maybe it’s the only play they have in the crisis playbook over there (insert your joke about Jimmy Clausen quarterbacking that playbook here…)
At the end of the day, the Hawks thought some combination of the following: 1. Their roster simply doesn’t have enough margin for error to go without Kane for any of the 82, which missing a week or two or camp would have probably caused. 2. The fanbase, a majority of it, cares about that most and will pretty much let anything slide in service of it. 3. This is all going away at some point in the near future and the long term damage is exactly nothing.
At the very least…very, very least… like, change in the couch cushions least, the Hawks have at least seen the backlash they’ve gotten from every direction except Rick Morrissey, and are trying to half-ass… no, that’s too much… eighth-of-an-ass an attempt to appease by leaking this, “Well we really didn’t want him here but our hands were tied” horseshit. That doesn’t mean they’re going to do anything else at all to admit that a lot of people are upset (condemning the people threatening Julie DiCaro? In your fucking dreams), but hey, at least they’ve got a finger in the wind. No prizes for guessing which finger, though.