Patrick Kane seeks personal improvement by reading "Twilight" books

Thumbnail image for Kane8.jpgLeave it to Patrick Kane to be perhaps the most fascinating NHL superstar of the summer. After scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks, he’s been mesmerizing to watch in the public eye. From his on-ice interviews after winning the Cup, to his obviously intoxicated behavior throughout the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade, to his day with the Stanley Cup that saw him both go to Niagara Falls and get stuck in a fire truck basket, it’s been a cavalcade of stunning amazement. And that’s not even going into all the bad PR he got before the season even started.

Today, we find out that Patrick Kane is indeed trying to improve his public image and straighten things up for himself personally. Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune got to follow Patrick Kane around Buffalo as he spent his day with the Stanley Cup and got to find out that Kane is trying to better himself through taking up reading books. No, he’s not reading Melville, Shakespeare or even Ayn Rand.

He’s reading about Twilight.

The color drained from Patrick Kane’s face when he was confronted with the knowledge of how he has spent part of his offseason after helping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

It was his mother, Donna, who caught the 21-year-old in the act — of reading a book.

While the fourth installment of the “Twilight” series isn’t exactly Tolstoy, the image of Kane in the bedroom of his Buffalo childhood home, curled up with a book instead of carousing on the streets of his hometown, is fairly startling.

“Ohhhh,” Kane said with a laugh after regaining his composure. “She would throw me under the bus like that. I watched the first three movies and was really interested … so I decided to read the fourth book. I kind of snuck it in there, and she walked in a couple of times with me reading the book. I tried to hide it, but it wasn’t happening.”

The amusement that comes from Patrick Kane just living the way that he does just kind of off the cuff is pretty incredible. While myself and I’m sure many others like me will sit back and just shake their head muttering, “Twilight? Really?” you have to admit that whatever it is that it takes for Kane to straighten up has to be a good thing.

While he hasn’t exactly been public enemy number one when it comes to running afoul of the law both on and off the ice, having one overly-boozed up incident in your hometown that gets the attention of the world should be enough to make you re-think one’s priorities in life. If it takes reading about “vampires” that sparkle in the sun to help you keep from punching out cabbies in a dispute over pocket change then by all means, read on.

With that all said, I’d give anything I had to have Patrick Kane wear a microphone all season long to get a sampling of the trash talk he’s sure to endure all season long because of this revelation about becoming a big Stephanie Meyer fan. It’s moments like this where I’d love to hear what Paul “BizNasty” Bissonette would say about it.

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    Calgary Hitmen fans make 24K stuffed animals fly during Teddy Bear Toss (Video)

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    Congratulations, Vladislav Yeryomenko, you were this year’s Teddy Bear Toss goal scorer for the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen.

    Yeryomenko’s goal at 9:36 of the first period during their game Sunday vs. the Moose Jaw Warriors was the sign for Hitmen fans to launch their teddy bears inside the Saddledome. Boy, it sure did rain plenty of fur.

    Here’s what it looked like:

    And here’s a fan’s eye view:

    After a clean up delay of approximately 40 minutes , the game resumed but the Hitmen would fall to the Warriors 6-3. The counting, as you would imagine, took some time, but when they were finished it was announced that an astounding 24,605 stuffed animals were collected, which will go to 60 local charities.

    “It’s an unforgettable moment,” Yeryomenko said via the Hitmen website. “It’s possible it can only happen once in your life and it happened to me. I enjoyed the moment of it all.”

    There were 23,924 stuffed animals tossed during last year’s game, and the Hitmen hold the record of 28,815 bears, which was set in 2015.

    The Hitmen have been holding this event since 1995 and are their fans are the true leaders in tossing those bears. Including this Sunday’s total, the team has collected 347,948 stuffed animals for local charities. Just last weekend the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears held their Toss event and fans there set a team record with an impressive 25,017 stuffed animals hitting the ice.

    This once again proves that the Teddy Bear Toss is the greatest promotion in all of sports.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Brayden Schenn scoring at will as domination continues

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    What’s the limit for Brayden Schenn?

    Curious and inquiring minds, like PHT’s own James O’Brien, want to know. 

    Add Schenn’s opposition to the list of people looking for answers. They surely want the madness to end.

    But Schenn appears disinterested in letting cooler heads prevail. He is, of course, red hot at the moment. And he’s quickly turning into a fearsome goal scorer that is increasingly harder to contain.

    Schenn buried his 16th of the season on Sunday night against the Buffalo Sabres some 40 seconds into the game. The goal, which can be seen below, was Schenn’s sixth in his past four games and a marker than extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.

    Some wondered how Schenn would cope with the loss of Jaden Schwartz, who is out for at least six weeks because of an ankle injury. 

    He answered that in under a minute.

    Coming into Sunday’s game, Schenn was on pace for 41 goals and 98 points. He’d crush his previous career highs if his torrid play continues.

    For the time being, Schenn is the leading candidate for the top off-season acquisition in the NHL.

    How bad is Ron Hextall kicking himself at the moment? A few months ago he had Schenn and didn’t have Jori Lehtera.

    The cringe faces must be excellent. Surely.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Marc-Andre Fleury set for return after getting taken off IR

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    The Vegas Golden Knights have their starting goaltender back.

    After nearly two months and 25 missed games, Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to make his return to the lineup on Tuesday after being pulled off injured reserve on Sunday.

    Fleury hasn’t played since Oct. 13 when Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha collided with the 33-year-old as he drove to the net. Fleury was shaken up on the play but saw it through, picking up his first loss of the season after allowing six goals on 27 shots.

    Fleury was solid in the crease in the four games he figured into, going 3-1-0 with a .925 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average.

    Since he went down, the Golden Knights have had four other netminders see the crease after injuries ran rampant through their goaltending stable.

    Their combined record, despite a clear lacking of NHL experience, has been remarkable:

    • Malcolm Subban – 10 GP, 7-2-0, .924 save percentage
    • Maxime Lagace – 14 GP, 6-6-1, .872 save percentage
    • Oscar Dansk – 4 GP, 3-0-0, .946 save percentage
    • Dylan Ferguson – 1 GP, 0-0-0, .500 save percentage

    Remember when Subban was claimed off waivers on the eve of the start of the regular season? Quite the steal.

    That adds up to a 16-8-1 record with Fleury out of the lineup, which is incredible given how banged up Vegas got between the pipes.

    The Golden Knights are on a four-game heater at the moment, and with Subban playing admirably — winning his past three starts — it remains to be seen if Fleury takes the crease on Tuesday.

    If not Tuesday, Fleury is surely a lock to get the start against his former team. The Pittsburgh Penguins come to town on Thursday.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Jaden Schwartz’s ankle injury derails career-year pace

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    Jaden Schwartz was on pace to flirt with a triple-digit point total this season.

    ‘Was’ is the keyword here because, for the second time in three years, Schwartz will miss a significant chunk of time with an ankle injury.

    How long he will be on the shelf this time around is undetermined, but Schwartz won’t be evaluated for six weeks after blocking a shot off his right ankle in a 6-1 rout of the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

    The injury bug hasn’t been kind to Schwartz’s ankles. During the 2015-16 season, he was limited to just 33 games after sustaining a broken ankle in practice.

    The fresh diagnosis is a frustrating blow for Schwartz and the Blues, who have watched his line with Brayden Schenn and Alexander Steen turn into one of the top trios in the NHL this season.

    Through 30 games, the 25-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points, placing him second on the Blues, behind Schenn, and ninth in league-wide scoring, tied with Connor McDavid.

    At his current pace, Schwartz, playing roughly 20 minutes a night, would have hit 98 points. And a little lucky bounce or two here and there might have propelled him above the century mark, setting career highs along the way.

    For the Blues, dealing with devastating injuries is all-to-familiar this season.

    But what’s probably most impressive about how successful the Blues have been this season is how they’ve been able to exceed all reasonable expectations despite dealing with a hefty number of major ailments.

    The injury bug has been more akin to a foul beast in the Gateway to the West. From Robby Fabbri gone for the season with a torn ACL and Zach Sanford sidelined for months with a shoulder problem to Jay Bouwmeester missing 20 games to start the year and Steen missing the first six.

    Not many predicted the Blues to be where they are in mid-December: second place the Western Conference standings with 42 points, just two back of top spot in the league.

    And now the Blues, in the midst of a three-game winning streak, will have to navigate another injury to a key piece of their lineup.

    They’ve shown the ability to overcome injury adversity before, but losing a key piece of your top six and a top scorer is never easy.

    If anyone has the formula down, however, it’s the Bluenotes.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck