Niagara Gazette

Sports

June 25, 2013

Buffalo's Patrick Kane wins playoff MVP award

(Continued)

It's quite a change from the end of last season, when Internet photos of Kane partying in Madison, Wis., led to renewed questions about his makeup. He also was arrested in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009 after an altercation with a cab driver.

General manager Stan Bowman said last May the team had talked to Kane about the pictures, and they handled the situation internally.

But Kane still entered this year with something to prove, and he was one of the NHL's top players from start to finish, helping the Blackhawks to the league's best record. He is the third straight American to win the Conn Smythe Trophy and just the fourth U.S. player overall.

"It's much deserved," said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who was the playoff MVP in 2010. "There's a lot of guys in that room that could have won that. I don't think there's anyone better than him, the way he played down the stretch. We wouldn't be here without him."

Kane, a three-time All-Star, played for Biel in Switzerland's top division during the lockout, so he had a head start on much of the league when the players and owners reached a new labor deal in January. He also had a healthy offseason after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left wrist in July 2011.

He finished the regular season with 23 goals, matching Toews for the team lead, and led the Blackhawks with 32 assists and 55 points. He also showed improved ability on defense, helping turn Chicago into one of the stingiest teams in the league.

Kane, who played without his trademark mouth guard after going without one in Switzerland, has long been one of the most popular Blackhawks, both for his fun-loving image and his considerable ability on the ice. He had the winning goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup against Philadelphia, lifting the franchise to its first championship since 1961.

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