It is over, finished, no hope now. At least for this year. The great American Dream is no more. No, I am not talking about the dream to move up a social class or have a nice house with a white picket fence; I mean the dream to finally have an American-born player win either the Hart trophy or the Art Ross Trophy. The Hart Trophy, the NHL’s MVP, dates back to 1924 and has never been awarded to an American-born player. The Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the league’s leading scorer, has yet to be awarded to an American in its near 70 year history. This was our year, America finally had its white knight; Patrick Kane was leading the charge for both trophies. That is, until Tuesday night when that dream literally and figuratively came crashing down on the ice.
Patrick Kane, a.k.a. “Showtime” was certainly having an MVP year. He led the Chicago Blackhawks in goals and assists, and was 15 points clear of the next highest scoring ‘Hawk, Jonathan Toews. He had the most game winning goals on the team, and what may be most impressive, is he lead all forwards in ice time. Typically a team’s #1 center averages the most time on ice, but this year, Kane, a right wing, was having such a great year he was being double-shifted because he was producing so much for the team. His defense even improved, his plus-minus was in the double digits and the coaching staff acknowledged he was working hard on the defensive end.
Kane was also leading the scoring race as of Tuesday night. He had a great chance to bring home the Art Ross Trophy, to the U.S.A., I might add. Kane’s 27 goals and 37 assists were tops in the league and a good indicator to how well rounded of an offensive threat he is. Kane’s shootout theatrics, though they do not count in the scoring race, demonstrated he is certainly the most talented American-born player on the planet. Even teammates argued he may be the best player in the NHL. After Tuesday night’s game, Kris Versteeg, Kane’s linemate, was asked about the ‘Hawks feelings after the loss of Kane, Versteeg stated “When you lose the best player in the league, you are going to be pretty pissed off” a bold statement considering how much talent there is in the upper echelons of the league.
Patrick Kane was sent crashing into the boards thanks to a cross-check from behind that appeared quite innocent, however, it was enough for Kane to lose his balance and down he went. Kane suffered a fractured clavicle, and will be out 12 weeks. That was not all that was fractured, the American dream to win the Hart or Art Ross also has been broken. This was our year, did I mention that already? Now we are left to watch most likely a Canadian or European hoist a trophy that yet again, no American has ever won.