The sport of hockey has such a tight fraternity that when some Chicago Blackhawk players heard the criticism of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for coming out of the NFC Championship Game Sunday, they were both surprised and intrigued.
“It’s a different league, different sport, different personalities,” Patrick Kane said. “You see way more outspoken people in the NFL. Sometimes it’s interesting to see what players have to say. Would you see it in the NHL? Maybe from a few players but not a lot like you see in the NFL.”
Although hockey is a sport where players perform hurt all the time, no one in the Hawks dressing room was questioning the decision to take Cutler out. And many couldn’t believe the outrage of the decision.
“You feel bad for him,” Brian Campbell said. “His friends and family. You see people burning his jersey. Hopefully we can all somehow in our own way apologize to a guy like that.”
“From what his teammates and coaches are saying you have to trust their instincts to keep him out of the game,” Kane added.
Campbell was the most outspoken, having had a similar injury this season that sidelined him for the first five weeks of the year. Like others in the Hawks’ locker room, he couldn’t believe Cutler’s peers attacking him.
“It’s pretty disappointing, the reaction of it all,” he said. “At least don’t react right away. Find out the details about it and then react.
“They’re probably at home watching the game eating popcorn or whatever else. I was eating chili. Anybody can grab a phone and say, ‘look at him on the sidelines.’ I could have walked around when I did my knee. True warriors know what guys do. The guy has been sacked and beaten on how many times in the last two years and a he keeps going about his business. Yeah, maybe he doesn’t talk the best in the media but that’s him. Everybody is different, not everybody is Peyton Manning. He goes out and gets his job done and that’s all you want. Guys aren’t the best at everything but he’s good at playing football. That’s what Bears fans should be pretty happy about.”
Campbell stressed that appearances can be deceiving.
“I know when I did mine and came off the ice I was like, ‘I can play’, but as soon as I got back to the room I was like, ‘ok, something is going on here.’ I know when I was rehabbing I would never be able to plant a foot or do anything laterally for three weeks.”
Kane knows when he’s out with an injury there is always going to be talk about how quickly he can get back, even by those with no knowledge of the issue. He’d like to see the athlete get the benefit of the doubt.
“I feel bad for the guy to be honest with you because it seems the fans are kind of after him and everyone is ripping him,” Kane said. “Hopefully they give him a break.”