Make no mistake, Patrick Kane wants to be the man for the Detroit Red Wings. At the same time, as he’s making his Red Wings debut on Thursday at Little Caesars Arena against the San Jose Sharks, Kane is expressing relief that right now, he doesn’t need to be the man for the Red Wings.
Detroit is among the NHL’s hottest teams right now. The Red Wings are 6-1 over their past seven games. They are also second in the NHL in goal scoring with 91 tallies through 24 games, or 3.79 goals per game.
“They have a lot of offense in here, a lot of depth,” Kane said. “It’s nice not to have that pressure right away.”
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) December 7, 2023
Playing his first game in six months after undergoing a hip resurfacing procedure, Detroit coach Derek Lalonde with be governing Kane’s ice time so that he’s not overtaxed upon his return to action.
“Just the plan, target minute-wise, probably won’t use him every shift,” Lalonde said.
As time goes on, Kane is hopeful that he’ll be again the guy who’s been an NHL superstar since joining the league in 2007. He wants to be one of those driving the bus toward success for the Red Wings.
“I’m sure as time goes on, you’ll want that pressure on you and want to have those expectations of producing every night,” Kane said.
Kane Can Ease Into Role
Surrounded by so much succes right now, Kane can ease his way back into being that elite player.
“Hopefully, he plays with some confidence, plays to who he is,” Lalonde said. “I had a little chat with him yesterday. He’s anxious, which you can just imagine. Hopefully, his instincts will take over.”
Even the best of the best still get the pre-game jitters.
I remember last year when I went to New York, the first game there,” Kane recalled. “It’s a change of scenery, it’s an energetic crowd. People are there to see you perform.
“You want to give the fans good vibes and also show off for your teammates. All these guys have been playing great, they’ve been on a good run of late. I want to play well for them.”
For the time being, Kane is literally living a cliche. He’ll be taking things shift by shift.
“I try not to think too much about expectations, or what I’ve done in the past, or how long I’ve been off,” Kane said. “I’m just going to go out and play the game. Try to get better every shift and every time I touch the puck and hopefully good things will come.
“For now I’m not gonna put too much pressure on myself and try to do the best I can right away. I think over time we’ll get to that level.”
Red Wings Starting Kane With Veleno And DeBrincat
There will be a bit of familiarity for Kane in that he’ll be sharing the ice on his Detroit debut with his old Chicago linemate Alex DeBrincat. The two were a dynamic duo for the Blackhawks.
“I don’t want to say the biggest reason I came here but it was definitely a big reason,” Kane said of the chance to reunite with DeBrincat.
Joe Veleno will center the unit, another indication of how his stock is rising with the Red Wings.
Imagine being Joe Veleno…
Just against all the odds last season, big summer of training, wanting to make an impact…
20ish games in he’s playing on a line with Patrick Kane lmfao.
Good for him. Take off.
— Red Wings Diehards™ (@RedWingDiehards) December 7, 2023
“For me to get that opportunity obviously means a lot,” Veleno said. “I’m really excited for tonight.”
Veleno’s game plan is to utulize his speed to try to create space for DeBrincat and Kane to work their magic with the puck.
“Watching him over the years, he’s obviously a pass first guy,” Veleno said of Kane. “He’s got incredible hockey sense.
“Obviously with DeBrincat being a really good goal scorer, it’s just trying to find some open ice, use my speed for them to kind of push the pace. Just try to find an open spot on the ice and hopefully the puck will get to me.”