Charges of evidence tampering in the Patrick Kane case likely won't affect his ability to stay and play with the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s been a day of shocking developments in the Patrick Kane sexual assault investigation.
At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, the attorney representing Kane’s accuser dropped a bombshell claim of evidence tampering in the case, saying that the packaging that held the rape test kit had been delivered to the home of the accuser’s mother.
Then, in an unexpected twist, a statement from Erie County Police Commissioner John Glascott appeared to refute the lawyer’s story.
“All evidence related to this case that was given to Erie County Central Police Services by the Town of Hamburg Police Department is accounted for and remains in its original packaging in the possession of Erie County Central Police Services,” Glascott said in a statement. “This includes the evidence in the rape kit and the packaging itself. This evidence has been analyzed and reports of that analysis sent to the appropriate agencies.”
While the process to uncover what really happened at Kane’s suburban Buffalo home on Aug. 2 appears to melt down before our eyes, one thing is certain: Kane took to the ice with his teammates for their morning skate on Wednesday. And even as the rollercoaster developments of the day unfolded, it is clear that he remains a member of good standing with the NHL.
“[I have] no comment on today’s press conference,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email to SI.com. “I'm not sure [it] should have any direct impact on Kane's status.”
The Chicago Blackhawks did not return a call for comment, but after holding their own polarizing press conference last week it’s clear the team stands squarely behind the player.
“The Chicago Blackhawks organization prides itself on trying to make calculated and deliberate decisions based on information we have at the present time," team president John McDonough said at the conference. "We recognize that Patrick Kane is dealing with a very serious situation. Based on our discussions with his legal representatives, who are very close to this matter, we have decided to have Patrick join us for training camp.”
Safe to say then that Kane will continue to skate in camp and take part in exhibition games. That’s exactly what he did on Tuesday night at the United Center where he was greeted with enthusiastic cheers when he took to the ice and when his face was shown on the video board.
“The support’s been really good,” Kane said on Tuesday morning. “Just driving in last night, you saw some 88 jerseys walking into the building. It’s pretty cool to see. I think the fans have always been great here, but the past week or whatever it’s been, the support has been great. It’s kind of what you expect from Chicago fans, in a good way.”
That support hasn’t been universal, though. Not among Hawks fans and certainly not from other concerned individuals who believe Kane should be suspended while the legal process unfolds.
But at this point, the question of whether he should or shouldn't be skating is moot. Kane wants to play hockey and the two entities with the power to prevent him from doing that are disinclined to do so.
Given what has transpired and what will take place in the coming days and weeks as this most recent development is sorted out, that’s unlikely to change any time soon.