Just days before the start of training camp, the Chicago Blackhawks are stuck with the Patrick Kane conundrum. The Blackhawks are hoping that the defense of their Stanley Cup would go smoothly. That's not the case. They have a big decision to make at some point between now, and the opening of camp on September 18. Do they allow Patrick Kane to join the team in training camp?
On August 1, the Erie County's Special Victims Unit launched a sexual assault investigation on Patrick Kane. According to Sports Illustrated, the Hamburg, New York, police department began looking into allegations that the Blackhawks star had assaulted a young woman. The investigation took on full steam shortly after the alleged victim submitted a rape kit at a local hospital. Formal charges were not filed at the time. Now, there will be a grand jury to see if Kane will be prosecuted for a crime.
The Erie County grand jury was supposed to take place about a week ago. It was postponed with, one media outlet reporting that settlement talks were underway. That theory has since been proven false.
At least five people will offer testimony during the grand jury. With scheduling, breaks in between questioning with the possible witnesses, everything could go on well into training camp.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the grand jury hearing will resume in about two weeks. That leaves open the possibility that Kane could join his Blackhawks' teammates at the training camp site in South Bend, Indiana, for at least a weekend. But should the Blackhawks tell him to focus on his legal troubles?What can the team do with one of their best players whilst they await the grand jury verdict of the sexual assault investigation involving him?
The Chicago Blackhawks are a proud organization that bristles with the slightest sign of bad publicity. During last season, the front office sent goaltender Corey Crawford out to face media members in order to address an injury he suffered at a concert in Chicago, Deadspin reported. Would the Blackhawks' organization do the same thing with Kane, giving him a written apology statement?
If Patrick Kane does accompany the team at the Blackhawks training camp facility, he will cause a media distraction that is certain to hurt the team more than they have already been hurt.
It is bad enough that his teammates will get indirect questions regarding the Kane investigation, as well as his availability in camp. Those inquiries will only wear them down no matter how good they are prepped for it. There is only so much preparation the Blackhawks can do to make sure everyone is on the same page. Team chemistry is a great importance. The Chicago Blackhawks must somehow establish some.
If Patrick Kane does not join the team, Chicago Blackhawks have to prep for the upcoming season without their second-best player, a player who NHL observers consider one of the top five or six players in hockey. The Blackhawks will have to build chemistry without him.
Chances are that Kane would not join his team for too long anyway. Being with his teammates does one thing: it gives him a bit of normalcy before the grand jury hearing.
As for what the Blackhawks are saying, all is quiet on their end. It was suggested that the team may work out a leave of absence for him until everything comes to a conclusion. There is so much at stake that the team cannot react one way or another until there is some form of finality.
Patrick Kane could be found innocent, or he could be found guilty. This explains the conundrum the Chicago Blackhawks are facing before the break for training camp.
[Photo by Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport]