Patrick Kane got on the ice Monday for a brief respite from the commotion that's engulfed him since he was arrested eight days ago and accused of beating up a Buffalo cab driver in a fare dispute.
"It's nice when you are on the ice and kind of get away from everything," Kane said.
After reading a statement apologizing for the pain he's caused those close to him, the 20-year old Chicago Blackhawks star acknowledged after practice at the U.S. Olympic men's hockey orientation camp that all the details haven't come out.
The former top NHL draft pick and rookie of the year also said he's concerned what impact his arrest would have on his reputation and his future.
"I haven't really told anyone my side of the story," Kane said, adding that because of legal proceedings he can't do that.
"The only one who really knows is my lawyer and my family and that's about as far as it goes," he said. "At a time like this, obviously you are worried about different things ... being on the cover of a video game or coming to a camp like this or anything you are involved with."
A grand jury is expected to decide this week whether Kane should face criminal charges after the predawn Aug. 9 dispute left the cab driver in his hometown bruised and with broken glasses.
Kane and his cousin, James Kane, were arrested after 62-year-old cabbie Jan Radecki told police they attacked him when he said he didn't have 20 cents change for the fare. The Kanes pleaded not guilty to robbery and misdemeanor counts of theft and criminal mischief.
Kane said the most difficult part has been seeing the incident's effect on loved ones.
"My family's reaction," he said. "Probably being in handcuffs and them seeing me in handcuffs. They said it's something they never want to see again. My family didn't raise me that way. So it's tough letting them down, too."
Kane said he watched NFL quarterback Michael Vick being interviewed on TV and understood to an extent what he was dealing with. Vick has returned to play after serving time for his role in backing a dogfighting ring.
"It was actually fun for me to watch and see kind of how sorry he was, how happy he was to be back in the game of football," Kane said. "There are going to be ups and downs in life and things like this are going to happen. But you never want it to happen again."
There are 34 player in the camp being considered for the 23-man squad that will go to Vancouver for the Olympics.
Kane wants to be one of them. Brian Burke, the general manager for the U.S. men's Olympic team, said the incident "does not affect my judgment of Patrick Kane."
"I do believe character is a vital element in putting together a winning team. I've always stressed it. I always will," he added. "I think it's possible for a young man to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and make a poor decision. I know when I was Patrick Kane's age I did a couple of things I would not want to talk about up here."
Kane's Chicago teammate, Dustin Byfuglien, is also a camp invitee and is trying to offer support, even though they haven't discussed the incident.
"I think he's handled it very well, keeping his head up and doing what you got to do," Byfuglien said. "There are a lot of people telling him good things and I don't think it's really going to affect him much at all."
The cabbie's attorney has said the incident was "blown out of proportion" and suggested the dispute can be worked out.
Kane, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft and the rookie of the year in 2008, had 25 goals and 45 assists last season, and his team has built a marketing campaign around him. He helped the Blackhawks advance to the Western Conference finals last season.
"Everyone has been pretty supportive so far. I think they're tending to see not all the facts are out, but you can't just judge on the first impression of the story," Kane said. "It's tough. At the same time hopefully it works out for myself and my side of the story."
As he headed to the practice rink, Kane said he saw plenty of his own No. 88 jerseys in the stands and heard plenty of cheers, too. He said one fan sitting in the front booed him.
"There are probably going to be a lot of comments and jokes for the next couple of years," Kane said. "So you're going to have to deal with them and get used to it."