Kane enjoyed three consecutive multi-points, finishing the week with an NHL-leading total of four goals and four assists. He tallied the 50th shootout goal of his career. That’s second all-time among NHL players behind only his long-time Chicago Blackhawks teammate Jonathan Toews.
⭐⭐⭐ Patrick Kane, who signed with the @DetroitRedWings on Nov. 28 following offseason hip surgery, topped the NHL with 4 4—8 in four games last week and is averaging a point per game this season (5-5—10 in 10 GP).#NHLStats: https://t.co/n5VdUkpqQO pic.twitter.com/ipih5XsmFo
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 24, 2023
The performance helped to earn Kane one of the NHL’s three stars of the week. It’s also silencing the doubters – of which there were many when he accounted four just 1-1-2 totals over his first five games – that Kane would able to again be himself following hip resurfacing surgery.
Those who got to watch Kane up close could see that the skills were still there. It was simply a matter of shaking off the rust and the points would begin piling up.
“Just try to get the timing down,” Kane said of his mission at the outset of his return from a six-month layoff. “When I get the chances put them home.”
Consider that to be mission accomplished.
Kane has accounted for more than 400 goals and in excess of 1200 points during his NHL career. Right from the outset, Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde was confident he’d been getting that guy in his lineup.
“You could feel from night one,” Lalonde said. “He’s been around it, making plays.”
Yzerman Understands Kane’s Passion
Perhaps no one can better comprehend the desire that drove Kane to undergo what is basically still experimental surgery to continue playing in the NHL at the age of 35. In 2002, at the age of 37, Yzerman underwent an osteotomy on his knee – a prcoedure designed to allow seniors to wlak without pain – in order to continue his NHL career. It bought him another three seasons.
“I did love playing, I wanted to keep playing, I would have kept playing forever,” Yzerman explained. “I’m not sure it was the right decision but I loved to play and it’s all I’ve ever done my whole life.
“Patrick Kane is a competitive person. 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.”
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) December 23, 2023
Certainly, Kane reflects similar qualities as Yzerman not just in their level of skill as hockey players, but in that unabated desire to keep playing the game.
“I guess the main reason would be the love and the passion for the game,” Kane lists as what drove him to go through this ordeal in order play again. “Still wanting to play, as simple as that.”
Red Wings Fabbri Knows Kane’s Battle
It wasn’t going to an easy road back for Kane. Enduring the pain, the emotional toll and let’s face it, the sheer torture of battling back to health while rehabbing from major surgery is a daunting taks
No one knows what Kane’s been through better than Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri. He coudl write a PhD dissertation on dealing with the pain and suffering of the rehabilitation process. Four times, Fabbri has undergone reconstructive knee surgery.
“It’s definitely not easy,” Fabbri said. “I did it earlier this year. It’s about not only getting your legs up to game speed, but your mind up to game speed.
“That’s the tough part of sports in general to come back from.”
Kane knew the journey would be arduous, but the reward would be worth the rugged trip.
“I didn’t want it to be the reason I had to stop playing,” he said of his hip issue. “It was a decision that was talked about pretty deeply to make sure we made the right decision.
“I also feel like I have a lot left to give. I still feel good as far as how I feel on the ice and my conditioning. I don’t feel like I’m getting old in that regard.”
Based on his performance so far, that fact seems beyond debate.