Thu Jan 28 11:59am EST
Buried in a FanHouse preview of the Chicago Blackhawks' game against the San Jose Sharks is what appears to be the first public statement from Patrick Kane(notes) on those whimsical party photos from the back of a limo in Vancouver which were published by Orland Kurtenblog and that all the kids are talking about.
To be fair, Kane told FanHouse he believes at least one of the shots was a fake created through photo editing software, though the U.S. Olympian was quick to add, with some chagrin, "It's not something you really want to be a part of. We've talked about it as a team, we talked about it internally, and that's about all I can say about that."
There's no indication as to whether the mandatory follow-up question of "which one?" was asked, which is a shame. (UPDATE: From Slusser over Twitter: "I did ask which one, but with no way to verify that, decided it was most fair just to put that he thought one was photoshopped.") But Kane appears to confirm what a lot of us felt upon seeing the shots earlier this week.
Then again, we've also had sources close to the team confirm their legitimacy too, and the Blackhawks themselves have confirmed "the authenticity" of the photos. One theory we've heard was that confirmation was done to avoid further scrutiny and extend the life of this piffle of a story; it would appear Kane didn't get that memo.
Again: These are guys having a few beverages with ladies in the back of a limo. Unless someone within the Blackhawk organization confirms that their off-ice behavior is a distraction, it has as much to do with hockey performance as Greg Oden's Trailblazer has to do with basketball.
As our buddy Sarah Spain tweeted last night: "It's such a NON STORY." Which is why it's frustrating to see ESPN speculate on the timing of the party photos and the Chicago Sun-Times (in a story we contributed to) dig up Theo Fleury's fight with a strip club bouncer, which cost Phil Housley his alternate captaincy and sent the Blackhawks into a tailspin. Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times danced close to indignation in his column on the photos, but ultimately succumbed to the humorous notion of the 'Hawks as baby-skinned boy band members: "I'm thinking Highstickz, 32 Degrees, Man Advantage or Pull My Goalie."
OK, deep breaths, and everyone move on. Well, save for you, Kane: Are you saying the Mexican wrestler chest isn't yours, or are you talking about Versteeg's sunglasses?