LOS ANGELES -- Playing hockey allowed Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane to deal with the passing of his grandfather on Monday, but his emotions were too much for him once he stepped off the ice.
In the team’s dressing room after playing the Los Angeles Kings, Kane broke down in tears when talking about the death of his grandfather, Donald Kane. Kane got the news just before the game and did not share it with his teammates or coaches.
With that heavy heart, Kane channeled his emotions into two goals, an assist and his first three-point game since December as the Blackhawks defeated the Kings 5-3 at the Staples Center.
“Just tough day overall,” Kane said with tears rolling down his face. “He was one of my great friends growing up. Just a really sad day. This was important to get the win, but anytime you get someone taken away from you that’s so close to you, means so much -- tough to hear that right before the game.
“I think you think about it a couple times on the bench. Overall, I was just trying to focus on the game tonight and play well for him, I guess.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he found out about Kane’s grandfather after the second period. Quenneville thought Kane was motivated to play well on Monday.
“It was a special game for him tonight,” Quenneville said. “He’s a proud guy. I think his grandfather meant a lot to him. Very emotional night for him. He played an unbelievable game, had the puck, scored a couple, but did so many other things. I’m sure he’s excited what he did for him.”
Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa only learned of Kane’s loss after the game.
“I didn’t know,” Hossa said. “That’s always tough when you lose somebody close from your family. He did what he could and played the best game. Big night for him.”
Kane began his production Monday in the opening minutes of the first period. On an early power play, Kane received a pass in the right corner, skated directly to the net, faked a shot and put the puck past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick for a goal.
“Great play by Kaner, great patience, great play recognition with a fake, just enough to draw them a little and [a] one-timer by Bicks,” Quenneville said.
Kane capped off his night with a final goal when Patrick Sharp set up in front of the net and Kane slipped the puck past Quick to put the Blackhawks ahead 5-2 in the third period.
Monday’s performance would have made Kane’s grandfather proud, but Kane said his bond with his grandfather went well beyond the rink.
“He was a guy I kind of grew up with,” Kane said. “He lived next door to me my whole childhood. We would do things like play cards and hang out by the pools throughout the summers. He came to a lot of my hockey games, but I think, more importantly for him, he was more worried about grades and being a good kid. It’s a tough day for sure.”