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On the day last week that Team USA announced its leadership group, a few eyebrows were raised that Patrick Kane got an A as an alternate captain. Gregor Blanco Jersey .Even Kane, the defending Hart Trophy winner and NHL scoring champion, acknowledged that wearing a letter with this team wasnt something he had necessarily anticipated.Its a pretty huge honor, he said. I dont know if I was really expecting it. But I think theres so many great leaders in here.Team USA head coach John Tortorella, as he is wont to do, was unequivocal about his decision to not only include Kane in the teams leadership group, but to bestow upon him an even greater symbol of leadership with an A.He deserves it, the coach said, who also named Joe Pavelski captain and Ryan Suter the other alternate captain.Its not that Kanes resume doesnt speak to greatness. It does.Three Stanley Cups, rookie-of-the-year honors, a playoff MVP award, a silver medal in the 2010 Olympics and, of course, last years dazzling regular season that saw him become the first-ever American to win a scoring title, which went along with his first MVP nod.A money player? One of the best of his generation. But a heart-and-soul guy? A leader?Thats a different story.With the Chicago Blackhawks, it has always been captain Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa. Those were the guys, at least in terms of the notion of leadership. Sure, its nuance, but Kane was different, an immense talent to be sure. But different.Maybe part of this has been his style of play: wildly creative as opposed to possessing the grit we ascribe to most so-called leaders in the game. Maybe part of this has been his past, which has always been a complicated bit of work, given repeated off-ice troubles, including last summers allegation that he sexually assaulted a girl in his Buffalo-area home. Criminal charges were never filed, but the incident polarized how the public views a player who might well end his career as the greatest American player of all time.But the A signals something different for Kane as we head into the World Cup of Hockey. On a U.S. team full of grit and determination, he is now being expected to be something different -- or perhaps something more.I dont coach him, but I watch him during our year, and I listen to him and I see maturity about him, Tortorella said. I cant get too deep into that, but I want him to take more responsibility now. I think hes ready for more responsibility as a leader of a USA team.And so coming off his most successful season as an individual, Kane has now been given a platform that will allow him to, if not redefine himself, then at least enlarge his portfolio, expand his hockey persona.I dont think its something that is going to change who I am or change the way I play or anything like that, Kane said, but its just kind of a nice honor for the team to give me. And, besides, I think were looking to everyone in this locker room to help lead in some way or another.Longtime NHLer and current national broadcaster Ed Olczyk said he would have gone as far to give the C to Kane, although he did praise the selection of Pavelski as the Team USA captain.In my eyes, whether he has a letter or not, he has learned and earned how to and is a leader, Olczyk said.Former goalie and longtime NHL analyst Kevin Weekes, who is providing analysis for ESPN during the World Cup, echoed those sentiments, saying that there is often a predisposition to downplay the leadership roles of highly skilled players.They discredit his work ethic because of his skill, Weekes said. But they dont know his skill is because of his work ethic.I think this is another step for him, Weekes added. I know that hes had missteps along the way, as many of us have had, all of us. Hes a very, very, very passionate hockey player and hes committed to being great.Not everyone feels the same way. One longtime player and scout said simply he believes the A is based solely on skill.Either youre a leader or you arent, the former player said via text. Maybe the most dangerous offensive player in the world. His name and game-breaking qualities allow them to put an A on his jersey. Not because of leadership and character qualities. Just how I see it.This past summer was a different one for Kane, 27, on a number of different fronts. First, it was a lot longer than most recent summers because the Blackhawks were dispatched in the first round by the St. Louis Blues,?after going to either the conference finals or the Stanley Cup finals five of the previous seven seasons. Second, he spent most of his summer in Chicago, as opposed to his native Buffalo, where he has traditionally spent most of his offseasons. He played golf and worked out with a different group of NHLers and Blackhawks prospects. But one thing he didnt do was spend much time reflecting on his season, instead looking forward to proving it was not a one-off.You win an award like [the Hart], and I think for me you dont really want to see that as a fluke, Kane said. You want to come back, and I think thats where the motivation is for me now. Obviously, you dont want to have that one good season and then fall down. You want to keep that level of consistency.Is he more mature? Different?I still feel Im the same person, Kane said. For me, ... I havent really changed who I am as a person, just kind of as you get older, you figure some things out. Kind of grow up at your own rate, I guess.Whether its a throwaway line or not, his teammates and opponents seem to agree there is an ongoing maturation from Kane.Someone that has the vision that he has and sees the game, slows it down, said former Blackhawks teammate Dustin Byfuglien, who now faces Kane regularly as a member of the Winnipeg Jets and is a Team USA teammate.Its just maturity, the big defenseman added. The older you get, the more you get comfortable with your environment. You know how to slow the game down. He can make some adjustments as he goes. Hes done a lot of great things.David Backes, now with the Boston Bruins, has played with Kane in two Olympics and has squared off dozens of times as a member of the Blues.I think theres no denying theres world-class skill and ability there, said Backes. Winning a Hart Trophy last year is definitely a symptom of that. A guy you always have to be aware of on the ice. If you dont play him the right way, hes making you pay in a big way and can win games on his own. ... All those things come to mind.Like many of his U.S. teammates, there is much to prove for Kane in the short-term at the World Cup of Hockey. He had a difficult Olympics in Russia, coming pretty much straight from his grandfathers funeral to then fail to score in six games, missing two penalty shots in the Americans disappointing loss to Finland in the bronze-medal game.Its kind of the challenge thats ahead of us, Kane said. Canadas proven themselves for the last five, six years as the best hockey country in the world, and we feel we have something to say about that and want to prove ourselves. Its a great opportunity for us to do it here in this World Cup.As it turns out, opportunities might abound for both this team -- and those chosen to lead it. Joe Panik Jersey .J. -- Marty Brodeur beat the Pittsburgh Penguins yet again. Bruce Bochy Jersey . PETERSBURG, Fla. http:///...cutchen-Kids-Jersey/ . -- When the Florida Panthers fell behind by two goals in the first period to the top team in the NHL, it appeared they were on their way to yet another loss. FRISCO, Texas -- Dez Bryant hesitated to talk about playing a day after the death of his father, and preferred not to try to add anything to Tony Romos heartfelt statement about the quarterback situation in Dallas.The Cowboys star receiver had already drained enough emotion on the field in a wild win at Pittsburgh, less than a week after his passionate reminder that critics didnt think hed still be around six years after he slid in the draft because of concerns over character.To try to get Bryant talking, someone offered a description of his game against the Steelers , when he had six catches for 116 yards and a 50-yard touchdown that ended with him in tears on his knees in the end zone rather than in his customary X pose.It was cool, the 2014 All-Pro said, smiling as the brief answer stopped, drawing laughter from reporters.There is another way to get Bryant going these days. Ask about the chemistry hes been raving about for weeks on a team with the NFLs best record (8-1) heading into Sundays game against AFC North-leading Baltimore (5-4).Bryant wasnt expecting that bond to affect him this personally, though. Not until he had to play so soon after finding out his father died, and while the team was on the road.If I didnt have my teammates or that type of vibe -- if we didnt have this type of vibe in the locker room -- I dont think I couldve played in that game, to be honest, Bryant said. These guys are amazing.The scene in the end zone was rare for the normally demonstrative Bryant, who is tied with teammate Jason Witten with 62 career touchdowns, third in club history and nine shy of Hall of Famer Bob Hayes record. The full embrace with coach Jason Garrett is what stood out on the sideline.I love Dez Bryant, Garrett said. Anyone who has had a chance to be around him loves him the same. He believes strongly in developing relationships with people around him. He loves this football team. He loves his teammates. Its hard not to feel the same way about him.Bryant believes team chemistry helped ease the transition to rookie Dak Prescott, who has won eight straight games and is keeping the quarterback job even though Romo, the 10-year starter, is ready to play following a preseason back injury. Evan Longoria Jersey. Romo has been the guy on the other end of most of Bryants 434 catches and 6,223 yards in his career.When Bryant offered enthusiastic updates on Romos recovery from the broken bone in his back from a preseason game, some interpreted it as his desire to get Romo back on the field. But Bryant had been clear from early in the season that he thought Prescott could be something special.Pundits seized on Bryants pair of one-catch games with Prescott. Yet he also has three 100-yard games in the six he has played; Bryant missed three games with a knee injury.I feel like I have been misunderstood for so long, said Bryant, who had off-field issues early in his career and several emotional outbursts on the sidelines. Im really not supposed to be in the league right now, according to a lot of people. But Im here. A lot of people try to say Im a `me, me, me guy. Thats never been. Thats not how I was taught.And he believes that has something to do with why he is still in the league, and signed his big contract.I genuinely care about people, he said. Ive been around a lot of hate in my life. Thats something I try my best to eliminate every day. Like I said, Im no longer interested in trying to get people to see who I am.Witten, in his 14th season and the Dallas leader in career receptions, is among those who have tangled with Bryant in sideline episodes through the years. Those incidents never seemed to spill into the locker room during the week, and theyre less frequent.Thats one of the relationships that Ive cherished the most over the last seven years, Witten said. We talk about it all the time, but when you can have an impact like that and see a guy come along on the field, the skill set he brings, how competitive he is and then the growth that goes with it, hes a brother of mine.Bryant felt that bond more than ever last weekend.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL---Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler ;Cheap Jerseys 2020 Cheap Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys Store Wholesale Jerseys 2018 Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Discount NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Store NFL Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys 2018 Nike NFL Jerseys China Jerseys From China Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale China NFL Hoodies Wholesale Authentic Jerseys ' ' '