Patrick Kane’s phone was bombarded all summer by texts from friends and family, who couldn’t avoid seeing his name in trade rumors in every corner of the internet.
Was he going to this team? Maybe that team? Maybe this other one?
Kane could do nothing but chuckle about the firestorm. Even Thursday, speaking for the first time since April after wrapping up Day One of Hawks training camp, Kane regularly laughed — with a bit of exasperation thrown in — at the onslaught of questions about his future.
Because behind the scenes, at least as far as he admitted Thursday, not much has been going on at all.
“You pay attention to it a little bit at first, and then you kind of just block it out,” Kane said. “I think a lot of the rumors are just rumors and maybe [started by] people looking for things to talk about in August when nothing’s really going on with hockey, right?”
A few things are true. Kane was disheartened by the Alex DeBrincat draft-day trade to the Senators. Kane did sit down, after the draft, with Hawks general manager Kyle Davidson and associate GM Norm Maciver to discuss his and the organization’s future and bounce some questions (and answers) off each other. Kane is indeed aware he’s entering the last year of his contract.
But at the moment, the trade rumors are misleading: Kane is still a Hawk, through and through.
“There hasn’t been much discussion about anything, even with my agent or my parents or my family,” he said. “It’s not anything we’ve really discussed. We all know the situation…[with] what could potentially happen. It’s not really anything I’m thinking about as of yet, so we’ll see how it all plays out.
“Hopefully we can get off to a good start here and prove some people wrong. I know a lot of people are counting this team out, what we can do. But we have a lot of motivated players and a motivated coaching staff, as well.”
Roughly the same story applies to Jonathan Toews, as “boring” — his word — as it may be.
The Hawks captain did have a few discussions about his trade with his friends, family and his agent Pat Brisson (who also represents Kane) this summer, but hardly anything serious.
“I don’t think anything’s gotten to that point, or even close to it, over the summer,” Toews said. “I don’t think it will for quite some time this season. … The thought for myself personally has always been to kind of keep trudging forward and getting better.
“A lot of people are wondering and love to speculate and see what’s going to happen. I’m coming in here just fully excited to play hockey and not have any expectations. [I’m] not too concerned with what happens for me down the road this season or even beyond that.”
This story will be updated.