Blackhawks Have Every Right to Put Patrick Kane on Notice for His Questionable Off-Ice Decisions

Blackhawks Have Every Right to Put Patrick Kane on Notice for His Questionable Off-Ice DecisionsPatrick Kane has been put on double secret probation.

That’s only fitting after his Animal House imitation early this month at the University of Wisconsin.

The Blackhawks star made headlines when photos surfaced across the web of Kane partying around the Madison campus during the Cinco do Mayo celebration, including one photo of him passed out at a bar.

The organization had remained quiet about the controversy until Wednesday. On a conference call to discuss the re-signings of defenseman Johnny Oduya and forward Jamal Mayers with Chicago media, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman addressed the issue and noted that the team was not happy with the incident and made their displeasure known to Kane.

“Obviously, we are aware of that situation,” Bowman said, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times . “We followed it closely. It was one of those things where we’ve discussed it with Patrick. We’ve handled that internally.

“We’re obviously disappointed with how it played it out, and Patrick is aware of that fact,” Bowman continued. “But at this point, it’s a private matter. I think, out of respect for Patrick, we’re not going to comment further. We’re going to look forward and try to focus on things in improving our team leading into the summer.”

The Blackhawks have every right to be upset with Kane, the first overall pick in 2007 who had a career-low 66 points this season despite playing in all 82 games, then did not score a goal in Chicago’s six-game loss to Phoenix in the opening round of the playoffs before his ill-advised excursion to Madison. That followed more impressive point totals of 72, 70, 88 and 73 in his first four seasons in the NHL, while he also played a huge role in Chicago’s run to the Cup in 2010 with 10-18-28 totals in 22 playoff games that spring.

Kane is an adult. At 23, he’s of legal drinking age and has a right to enjoy his time away from the rink in the offseason. And while the Sun-Times reported that Madison police stated that Kane’s behavior did draw their attention in response to an argument, it did not warrant an arrest.

But Kane also has responsibilities that the average 23-year-old doesn’t have to consider. He represents the Blackhawks organization and the team has every right to protect the image it projects. Kane is also two years into a lucrative five-year, $31.5 million deal that runs through the 2014-15. That’s a hefty financial commitment the Blackhawks have made to Kane, both in terms of raw numbers and in regard to their construction of the roster with a significant portion of their salary cap devoted to Kane’s $6.3 million annual cap hit.

Kane also has a history of past transgressions. He was arrested in his hometown of Buffalo during the 2009 offseason for allegedly punching a cab driver and eventually pleaded guilty to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct. The following year he appeared intoxicated when photographed shirtless in the limo with two women in Vancouver. A reproduction of that infamous photo was emblazoned on the back of the t-shirts Kane and his companions wore in Madison.

Considering his importance to the team and his past history, the only issue anyone should have with the Blackhawks putting Kane on notice is why it took so long to hold him publicly accountable.

Update: The Blackhawks might be even more concerned about Kane’s antics than originally believed >>

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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