John McDonough wasn't talking specifically about Blackhawks players when he said it. Chicago was in the middle of its surprising playoff run when McDonough met with a group of reporters at the United Center.
He was gracious with his time. Even ordered some pizza for a small group of writers working a long shift. And during the long conversation, he shared his philosophy as team president of the Blackhawks.
There's a Blackhawks Way, he said, and if one of his employees doesn't get it, they're out.
"I'm not really patient and have a tendency to call people on things because, to me, once is a trend," McDonough said at the time.
Now, we'll see if that trend includes star forwards.
So far, McDonough has backed tough talk with action. In the time since team owner Rocky Wirtz named McDonough team president, the Blackhawks have fired a head coach in Denis Savard and demoted general manager Dale Tallon.
Now, McDonough's once-is-a-trend philosophy faces its toughest test. Patrick Kane has been accused of beating up a Buffalo cab driver over 20 cents. Kane pleaded not guilty to a charge of felony robbery and the league is currently investigating the incident.
The cab driver's lawyer spent part of Monday telling WGN that the story is getting blown out of proportion, but if it's true, the incident reveals seriously questionable decision-making on the part of Chicago's 20-year-old forward.
And if McDonough sees this incident as a possible trend, now comes a tough decision for the Blackhawks' front office.
Do you trade the player you're supposedly building a team around, one of the game's brightest young stars? And if not, does McDonough lose credibility?
There might not be a better person in the organization equipped to answer those questions than new G.M. Stan Bowman.
Bowman knows Kane as well as anyone. Kane lived with the Bowman family during his rookie season and endeared himself to Stan's two boys, Will and Camden. The Bowman's also got to know Kane's family well during that time.
"He's a great kid off the ice," Stan Bowman told SportingNews.com during the playoffs. "He's an easy kid to live with. He's unassuming, didn't make any noise and was good to my two boys. They would bug him a lot, and he would appease them and play around with them."
"He's just a normal kid," the Blackhawks G.M. said then.
And normal kids make mistakes. Especially 20-year-olds on summer vacation.
Problem is, Kane is no longer a normal kid. Far from it. He's a millionaire who has become the face of the Blackhawks. He also was supposed to represent the next generation of U.S. Olympic hockey players along with emerging stars like Zach Parise and Paul Stastny.
Kane's court hearing is scheduled for next Monday, which coincidentally is the first day of Team USA's Olympic orientation camp in Chicago. On Monday, Team USA G.M. Brian Burke was still in the fact-finding portion of the investigation and the plan is for Kane to be a part of USA Hockey's orientation camp next week.
But this has to be the last thing coach Ron Wilson wants to deal with. Wilson was the coach when the U.S. hockey team infamously trashed its Nagano hotel rooms after a sixth-place finish in the 1998 Olympics.
Now one of his potential star players is being accused of jumping a cab driver. It's not the torch passing USA Hockey had in mind with its evolution to a younger team.
While there's still a possibility another side of the taxi cab incident will emerge, one that's more consistent with the humorous, upbeat Patrick Kane the NHL, media and fans have been exposed to the last two years, at the very least this is yet another distraction in a tumultuous Blackhawks offseason.
A G.M. was fired because of a contract snafu. Marian Hossa was signed to a huge free-agent deal — and then underwent shoulder surgery that will sideline him until at least Thanksgiving. And now this.
There were already heightened expectations in Chicago, and suddenly the pressure to win will be even higher. Winning could be the only thing that makes the off-ice distractions disappear.
Even before the summer troubles hit, McDonough realized the difficulties in building a winning organization.
"It's been an incredible challenge," he said during the season. "But we're looking ultimately for a great reward."
Now, McDonough has to decide if Kane is the kind of player and person who can lead the Blackhawks to the promised land.
PHT: The home team remained perfect in the Sharks-Kings Western Conference semifinal Thursday as LA took a 3-2 series lead.
Video: NHL from NBC Sports
Highlights: Wings take 3-1 series lead over 'Hawks
Jakub Kindl scores on a power play in the second period and Jimmy Howard saves 27 shots on the net to help the Detroit Red Wings hold on for a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Check out photos from the Kings' Stanley Cup victory parade in LA.
Stanley Cup playoffs
Check out photos from the NHL postseason action.
Stanley Cup winners
A look at the teams that have earned the right to hoist Lord Stanley's prize since 1965.
Some of Hollywood's hottest celebrities take in NHL games.
Check out the ice girls from around the National Hockey League.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.