With a resurfaced hip Patrick Kane is hoping to resurface his NHL career with Detroit
Patrick Kane wasn’t really playing hockey last season, at least not in a traditional sense.
He skated awkwardly, was straight-legged, and couldn’t properly crossover from left to right because of his bum hip.
“It was more of hopping on my left leg to get over to my right side,” Kane said.
It was noticeable to anyone watching. Kane was a shell of himself and both his point totals and overall impact slipped during a season split between the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers.
Now Kane and the Detroit Red Wings are betting that aggressive hip-resurfacing surgery, and a lengthy recovery, are enough to get the future Hockey Hall of Famer back into top-six form.
The surgery, which Kane had back on June 1, involved dislocating the upper end of his thighbone, trimming it, capping it, and removing cartilage before putting it back together. It was a surgery that, if done right, doctors told Kane would make sure his hip wouldn’t be the cause for his retirement from the NHL.
And as he skated with the Red Wings on Wednesday, Kane looked smoother and cleaner in his skating stride. He could actually crossover again, he wasn’t hopping in one direction and skating in the other.
“I can get into that position, I can get onto the right side,” Kane said. “I can feel the weight of it and get some power going that way too. That’s probably been the most exciting one … and just the ability to weight shift on both legs, that was very exciting for me.”
Kane, who signed a prorated contract worth $2.75 million for the remainder of this season, represents a big push by Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman. Yzerman has been patient during Detroit’s rebuild, often making longer-term moves, while signing Kane is pretty clearly a “win now,” transaction.
Kane won’t make his debut tonight against the Ranger or Thursday against the Blackhawks, which would have been fitting, and will likely make his debut next Thursday at home against the San Jose Sharks.
Kane said he picked the Red Wings because he liked the way the team was built, how it was playing lately, and how he was sold on the vision by Yzerman and Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde.
Yzerman and Lalonde met with Kane in a video call two weeks ago when the Red Wings were in Sweden to discuss hockey tactics and ways Kane could fit in Detroit. The player was impressed, and it aligned well with the vision that Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat had relayed to Kane.
Kane and DeBrincat reuniting is also one of the headliners of the deal. The duo had some dynamic seasons together in Chicago, DeBrincat was a 40-goal scorer twice, and Kane had a career-high 110 points during the 2018-19 season when they were paired together.
Whether it’s an immediate reconnection or not, Yzerman and Kane both spoke to the benefit of rekindling that spark when it comes to long-term success in Detroit this season.
And with all of this, it comes back to watching and seeing how well those crossover and weight shifts perform in a game, and how close Kane gets back to form he hasn’t had in a couple seasons.