Patrick Kane looks on before reading a statement to the media Aug. 17, 2009. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Paul Beaty)
WOODRIDGE, Ill. - Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane says it's a "positive step" that he will be charged only on misdemeanour assault and theft charges in connection with an attack on a Buffalo taxi driver over change for a fare.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III said Wednesday in Buffalo that a grand jury dismissed a more serious felony charge of second-degree robbery.
"Yeah, if the felony's dropped that's obviously a positive step - definitely," said the 20-year-old Kane, who was at the three-day U.S. Olympic hockey team orientation camp that closed Wednesday.
"The sooner it gets over with, the more everyone will be happy."
Kane and his cousin, James Kane, were arrested Aug. 9 after 62-year-old cabbie Jan Radecki told police they attacked him when he said he didn't have 20 cents in change for the fare. James Kane was indicted on the same charges.
The Kanes earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges. They are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.
Patrick Kane's lawyer Paul Cambria was not immediately available for comment.
"As is the practice in all criminal cases, the assigned prosecutor and defence counsel will discuss a possible resolution of the case short of trial," Sedita said in a statement. A plea deal, he added, would be based in part on the victim's wishes and the severity of his injuries.
Kane had not been told of the district attorney's statement when he met with reporters at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in a Chicago suburb. He said he would need to talk to Cambria before making further comment.
But he said he enjoyed the camp, where he was warmly received by Blackhawks fans despite the charges.
"The fans have been great," he said. "There was a great reception here when I got announced.
"It's been a fun week for me, to see all the support you have in Chicago. No matter what, the fans are behind you. It's fun to have that happen to me. You see little kids walking around with Kane jerseys. I've been trying to sign a lot for them and do the right thing. So, like I said before, you realize it's a privilege to do those things and sometimes you have to learn that."
Kane, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft and the rookie of the year in 2008, had 25 goals and 45 assists last season.
-With files from The Associated Press