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Key Question: How Much Can Kane Deliver to Red Wings?

Kane coming back from hip resurfacing surgery



Patrick Kane, Red Wings
How well Patrick Kane will be able to play for the Red Wings will remain a mystery until he actually gets into game action.

The most pressing question regarding the future of Patick Kane garnered an answer on Tuesday when he was signing a one-year contract for $2.75 millon with the Detroit Red Wings.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some pressing matters on the table regarding the newest member of the Red Wings.

When will Kane play is certainly at the top of that list. Even more significantly, perhaps, is whether Kane will be able to play well for the team.

The bottom line response to that query is that we just don’t know.

Kane, 34, is seeking to come back from hip resurfacing surgery. It’s a fairly new procedure in terms of helping athletes return to action and so far, at best the results are mixed.

Prior to being able to put his name to his Red Wings contract, Kane was put through a battery of tests by the club’s athletic performance and medical staffs. His post-surgery test results were studied. Consultations were held with the Doctors who were performing Kane’s surgery.

Upon assessment, the team’s hockey operations staff were given a thumbs up and the deal was finalized. Kane took the ice with his mew teammates on Wednesday at the game-day skate in New York, when the Red Wings are facing the Rangers.

Kane won’t be playing tonight, or on Thursday at home against his original club the Chicago Blackhawks.

“The hip feels good,” Kane said. “I think we’re kind of easing into it making sure we’re ready to go instead of throwing me into the fire.”

Yzerman Can Relate To Kane Situation

Perhaps no one within the Detroit organization can offer a better understanding into the uncertainty Kane must be feeling than the man who was convincing Kane to come to Hockeytown, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman.

In 2002, Yzerman underwent an osteotomy. It was an experimental knee surgery. Doctors were performing the procedure in the hopes of extending the career of the then Red Wings captain.

Patrick Kane is a competitive person,” Yzerman said. “He wants to play hockey, so I totally understand without having a long discussion on why he wanted to do this. I get it totally for sure.”

The short list of athletes who’ve undergone hip resurfacing surgery is not one that is offering optimism. Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was recently stepping away from the game following his attempt a a comeback.

Yzerman was choosing to cite tennis star Andy Murray as an example of a successful return to action from the hip surgery. To an extent, he’s correct. Murray is back playing on the tour. However, prior to the surgery, he was among the tennis elite. Murray was a Grand Slam winner who at one stage was carrying the world No. 1 ranking.

Today, Murray ranks 42nd in the world.

Kane Can Rely On Hockey IQ

Yzerman certainly wasn’t the same player following his osteotomy as he was prior to the surgery. However, he was able to rely on his guile and hockey smarts to remain an effective NHLer. He thinks Kane can call upon the same qualities in his return to the ice.

“He’s got great hockey sense,” Yzerman said. “His game has always, he’s relied mostly on his brain. He’s got good skills, he’s a great skater but what makes him exceptional is his brain and that gives him an advantage.”

Yzerman was also quick to note that they aren’t expecting to be getting Hart Trophy or Conn Smythe Trophy vintage Kane.

“In talking with the doctors, what can we expect and what are the potential hurdles for Patrick?” Yzerman asked aloud. “If he can be anything close to Patrick Kane of I’ll say two years ago, forget 2010 or whatnot.”

There’s nothing to say that Kane won’t prove to be an effective player for the Red Wings. Ultimately, at the term and price he agreed to, it was more than worth a shot.

“Short term it is a good gamble if you want to call it that,” Yzerman said. “I think there’s potential for high reward.”

Truth be told, until he’s getting back into game action, no one has any idea what the Red Wings will be getting from Kane.