On June 9, Patrick Kane scored the winning goal in overtime to secure the Chicago Blackhawks' first Stanley Cup title since 1961. With the Blackhawks reporting for camp Saturday to begin their NHL title defence, Kane spoke with Globe and Mail hockey writer Eric Duhatschek about the best summer of his life.
Q: Can I start by showing you my iPod? It has 208 songs by Jimmy Buffett, including Boat Drinks, the one you sang with him when you brought the Stanley Cup on stage during his concert in Chicago last month. What did you know about Buffett beforehand, other than he was an old guy, losing his hair, who sang about beaches, bars and boats?
A: I knew a couple of his songs. I knew he had his own plane. I knew he owned a $50-million hotel called Margaritaville. I knew he had his own beer called Land Shark. It was pretty funny doing some research on him - and looking up and learning some of his songs. I didn't actually know what song I was going to sing until I got there. But when they made the call to me, they said: 'We'll make you a deal. We'll give you the Cup for a weekend because we know you want to have in it Buffalo but you also want to bring it to Chicago. So we'll give it to you for two days if you help us and come on stage with Jimmy Buffett.' I said: 'Is that really a question? Of course, I'll do that.'
Q: So Boat Drinks. That song includes the lyric: 'Twenty degrees and the hockey game's on / Nobody cares, they're way too far gone / Screamin' "boat drinks" ' … And there's also a reference to the visitors scoring on the home rink, which you is what did in the final game against the Philadelphia Flyers to score the winner and finish the series off in six games.
A: Yeah, that's why they picked that song - because of all the hockey references.
Q: It sounded as if you had a pretty good time this summer, celebrating the Stanley Cup win. Was it as much fun as it looked?
A: It was amazing. It's kind of crazy to think we're back here talking hockey again. The summer's been pretty short. For every thing that happened, you'd give up your summer every year to do it again. It was so much fun. It was a blast. In Chicago, right after we won the Cup, the city was on fire. There were just a lot of cool things that we did - really, really enjoyable, probably the best summer of my life. Leaving Buffalo the other day and saying goodbye to all my buddies, they were all saying it was the best summer of their lives too. It was pretty cool. The feelings and the emotions you have, it makes you want to do it again.
Q: A lot of people wonder if you can. Nobody's won back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Red Wings did it back in 1997 and '98. You're going to have to deal with the effects of all the players that you lost [due to salary cap pressure] plus the effects of that short summer. Do you think maybe some of the changes actually help you because it puts a lot of hungry hockey players into your lineup, all of whom want to win their first championships?
A: That's what we're kind of noticing now. You talk to somebody like [new No. 1 goalie]Marty Turco. We're all excited about winning the Stanley Cup. He's excited about winning one this upcoming year. He's so enthusiastic about the season. He wants to get back on top of his game, he wants to be a big part of the team. … Sometimes, you talk to a guy like that and it just gives you motivation to get back on the ice and want to do it for him because you were in the same position last year.
Q: As busy as you were, did you have much time to devote to an off-season training program?
A: I'm not going to lie to you. The first month after, there wasn't much work going on. But I worked out 40 days this summer with my dad. What we have with the Blackhawks, there's a program online and you just click it and you do the workout that they've set up for that day. It's really simple and easy and I know coming in for my third season, I wanted to get faster and I wanted to get stronger so I could get to the next level - and I kinda did the same thing this summer, just in a shorter amount of days.