Upbeat Kane returns to Buffalo

Plenty has happened to Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane since his

summertime taxicab troubles in Buffalo.

A changed man, Kane returned to his hometown on Friday for

Chicago’s game against the Sabres, and didn’t avoid questions

regarding his well-publicized altercation with a cab driver in

August.

Kane pleaded guilty more than three months ago to a noncriminal

charge of disorderly conduct and was ordered to send an apology to

the cab driver he and his cousin were accused of roughing up over

20 cents.

“When it happened it just felt like it was a dream that you

never wake up from. You keep thinking you’re going to wake up and

you never do,” Kane said Friday. “I’ve tried to put it behind me

as best I could. It’s helped me grow up a little bit, and it makes

you more mature.”

Kane believes he’s still a happy-go-lucky kid, on and off the

ice. But he says he’s more aware of the ramifications of any

unfortunate actions and has learned some lessons from the

incident.

“I’m trying to take the positive from a negative situation and

try (to think) that maybe it’s better it happened sooner in life

than later in your life,” he said. “No one’s perfect. Look what’s

going on in the news these days with Tiger Woods and things like

that. When things were happening to me, I remember Rick Pitino was

going through some trouble, and Michael Vick.”

It’s been a whirlwind four months for the 21-year-old Kane, who

subsequently signed a five-year, $31.5 million contract extension,

and become a lock to make the U.S. Olympic team that will be

announced on Jan. 1. He’s realized that stardom comes with a price,

but it’s not so steep as to send his career into a spiral.

In his first game in Buffalo in Dec. 2007, the Sabres honored

him with a pregame video presentation and a ceremonial face-off.

Kane isn’t sure what reaction he’ll get this time after the dispute

with the cabbie.

“I’m not too concerned,” he said. “I think it’ll be a little

different. I’m interested to see what happens. Half the people love

you, half the people hate you … that’s just the way it is.”