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.''