Blackhawks coach Quenneville sees 'another step' in Kane's career progression

Jerry Lai / USA TODAY Sports

It's becoming increasingly rare for a professional sports team to display the kind of patience required to see a player live up to their true potential. 

In the case of Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks, it wasn't his abilities that had eyebrows raised early in his career, but rather troubling off-ice issues that had some wondering whether his seemingly limitless progression might be derailed at some point.

The Blackhawks, to their credit, waited it out and benefited to the tune of two Stanley Cups, due in no small part to Kane's contributions. After management committed $84 million this summer to retain Kane's services through 2022-23, head coach Joel Quenneville sounds like a proud father when talking about how Kane has grown both on and off the ice.

Quenneville told CSN Chicago:

(Kane's) development's been very noticeable. Every year, coming into camp, it seems like it's a different Kaner. He looks a little bit bigger, he's a little bit stronger, his handshake's a little bit more firm. I think his growth as far as his behavior off the ice has gotten better just like his game on the ice. 

He's just like a young kid. He's matured, he's grown up and he's a top guy. He knows expectations are real but he loves that challenge. You can see every single year Kaner comes into training camp and there's another level to his game and to his approach and involvement to being a better person and a better individual.

With a new season - Kane's eighth - set to begin the coach added, "I just saw him the other day; I see another step. He's got great progress to his career."

Kane, who turns 26 in November, recorded 29 goals and 40 assists in 69 games this past season, adding eight goals and 20 assists in 19 postseason games. For his career, Kane is averaging 0.95 points per game; a number that could rise as he sets his sights on hitting 90 points in a single season for the first time in his career.

At any rate, Kane's progression should serve as a warning for other clubs tempted to part ways with a star-caliber player before seeing what heights can be reached.

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Blackhawks coach Quenneville sees 'another step' in Kane's career progression
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