Patrick Kane’s hat trick in return carries Blackhawks to long-awaited winBen Popeon November 2, 2021 at 2:42 am

Patrick Kane’s hat trick carried the Blackhawks to a win Monday. | AP Photos

After missing four games on the COVID list, Kane scored three times Monday as the Hawks beat the Senators 5-1 for their first win in 10 games this season.

Patrick Kane, returning Monday from a four-game absence on the COVID-19 list, was expected to give the Blackhawks a boost.

But Kane did quite a bit more than that, erupting for a hat trick and lifting the Hawks over the Senators 5-1 — their long-awaited first win of the season.

The dam at first showed small signs of cracking, with the Hawks leading 1-0 at the first intermission and 2-0 at the second, before bursting entirely in the final frame.

Kane looked his vintage self, lurking quietly but dangerously before grabbing a loose puck in the crease (like on his first goal) or exploding through the defense for a breakaway (like on his third goal). He moved into third place in Hawks history with 408 career goals.

Kane’s availability to play Monday came as a surprise to coach Jeremy Colliton, who called his morning skate appearance “unexpected.” Kane had to clear several tests in order to be activated. But everything eventually clicked into place, both off and on the ice.

The Hawks still have a long way to go to refill the hole dug by their nine-game losing streak — the worst start to a season in franchise history. Their 1-7-2 record doesn’t look a whole lot prettier than 0-7-2. But at least there’s now a digit in every column.

Bettman defends decisions

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman defended several controversial decisions he made in the fallout of the Hawks sexual assault investigation in his press conference Monday.

Bettman said he let Joel Quenneville coach the Panthers’ game last Wednesday against the Bruins — before meeting with him Thursday, leading to his resignation that night — because he “wanted to make sure that no one, including coach Quenneville, thought that I had pre-judged him.”

Bettman also said that he chose not to discipline now-Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff because his lesser role in 2010 meant he didn’t know the allegations were not being investigated, and that the $2 million fine the NHL levied the Hawks was “substantial by any measure,” Bettman argued.

The NHL has sought “the assistance of outside professionals to evaluate” its polices on and resources for sexual abuse, Bettman added, and will also try to “create a network” of organizations for abuse victims to make available to hockey players outside the NHL.

Settlement talks starting

Settlement talks between Susan Loggans, Kyle Beach’s lawyer, and Hawks lawyers are scheduled to begin Tuesday.

The Hawks requested the two sides use a third-party mediator to determine a “fair financial settlement” and proposed a 60-day stay on filings in the still-pending lawsuit while the talks progress, according to letters obtained by the Sun-Times.

Hawks chairman Rocky Wirtz and CEO Danny Wirtz also asked Loggans if Beach would be willing to have a direct conversation in which they “each personally apologize” for the Hawks’ handling of his allegations.

More notes:

NHL Players Association director Donald Fehr called Monday for a law firm to investigate his and the NHLPA’s 2010 response to Beach’s allegations. The NHLPA was allegedly notified several times but did not take action.
Marian Hossa’s legacy night — scheduled for Nov. 9 against the Penguins — has been postponed by the Hawks, who called it an “important time for our organization to reflect rather than celebrate” in a statement.
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