Kane aiming to make Red Wings debut in next 7-10 days
Detroit Red Wings fans are going to have to be a little patient while waiting for Patrick Kane's first game donning the Winged Wheel.
The newly signed winger is aiming to make his Red Wings debut within the next 7-10 days, he said Wednesday, according to EP Rinkside's Sean Shapiro. Kane added that Detroit's clash against his hometown Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 5 is his earliest return date, but his first game will more likely be against either the San Jose Sharks next Thursday or the Ottawa Senators next Saturday.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion underwent hip resurfacing surgery in June and inked a one-year, prorated $2.75-million deal with Detroit on Tuesday. He hit the ice with his new teammates for morning skate in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
Kane made it clear that his delayed debut isn't because of any issues from his surgery.
"Health wise, I was cleared for contact ... almost two months ago," he explained. "It's just probably more at this point getting up to speed with the team, having a few practices, and just kind of getting acclimated with everything more so than the condition of the hip. The hip feels good. ... I think we're just easing into it and making sure I'm ready to go instead of just kind of throwing me into the fire."
Kane hasn't played since May 1 when the New York Rangers were eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the opening round of the playoffs. He put up 21 goals and 57 points in 73 games last season for the worst statistical campaign of his career, but he was dealing with a nagging hip issue throughout the year.
The 35-year-old said he feels "a lot better" thanks to the surgery.
"Just the ability to put weight on the right leg and being able to weight shift side to side," he said. "Also just my lateral movement is so much better. ... I think I'm in a good spot. Obviously you never know how long it's going to take to get up to speed here - especially in the NHL.
"I'm hoping it's pretty quick. Hopefully after a couple games it's just out of my mind and I can just play the game."
Heading into Wednesday's action, the Red Wings were third in the Atlantic Division with a 11-6-3 record, which was attractive to Kane when he was deciding on his next landing spot.
"They're really building something that I think is going to have a lot of success here, so I'd like to be part of that, especially starting this year," he said. "They're in a playoff spot now and they've been playing really well as of late. I'd like to jump in there and help them make the playoffs."
By signing in Detroit, Kane also reunited with former Chicago Blackhawks linemate Alex DeBrincat. Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde said he will likely play the two of them together once Kane is ready to see if they can rekindle their chemistry, per NHL.com's Dan Rosen.