Submitted by National Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
DETROIT — When Patrick Kane walked off the ice after an hour-long skating session in Detroit on Thursday morning, a young Chicago Blackhawks fan wearing a Connor Bedard jersey was one of many kids waiting for him to finish and asking for a picture.
When Kane saw the shirt, he joked to the fan: “We should change the number 9 to the number 8.”
Just as it’s strange to see No. 88 on a Red Wings jersey, Kane is still getting used to seeing No. 98 Bedard on a red Blackhawks jersey.
“Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s great for Chicago, it’s great for the league to have a player of his caliber in this market,” Kane said of the Blackhawks winning the 2023 NHL Draft lottery and landing Bedard. “Obviously I’m happy for the organization and for Connor too to go to a city like this. It’s a great place to play. It’s in really good shape, and I’m sure it will get better as time goes on, so I hope they do that.” He can build something there.”
Kane said he spoke to Bedard several times, both before the draft and after he was officially selected with the No. 1 overall pick by Chicago. They are the only two players in franchise history to have been taken No. 1 overall.
“He’s very respectful, and you can see he’s been brought up the right way,” Keane said. “He’s still pretty young too, isn’t he? He’s an 18-year-old, so I’m sure he’ll find ways to get better and better on the ice. He seems like he already has a good head on his shoulders.” .
“From afar, he looks like he’s already a professional, doesn’t he? Whether that’s the case, you see him staying on the ice after training, the way he takes care of himself, things like that. Everything will be fine with him.”
After the Blackhawks won the lottery, Kane thought there might be any outside chance his former team would return. But the Blackhawks respectfully turned the page to a new era.
“Yeah, I mean I didn’t really know, did I?” Ken said. “Especially after the first pick, I was like, ‘Okay, maybe they’ll try to get me back, even like Taser or me.’ But they seem to be heading in a different direction now, so yeah I haven’t heard from them but I think they’re trying to kind of rebuild and get their young players in there and give them a chance. “It is what it is.”
When asked if he took it a little personally, Kane took the high road.
“No, I don’t think so,” Ken said. “I’ve been there for a long time. I’ve been there for 16 years or so. We had pretty good success while I was there. I think there’s always a piece in the back of your mind that maybe that might happen or even in the future.” “Or in the future, you never know, but yeah, I love the city, I loved my time there with the organization. Obviously we’ve had a lot of success, so if it’s time to move on, that’s what it is.”
Ken made the decision to have hip resurfacing surgery on June 1st. He felt the time had come, having tried everything possible with the Blackhawks to do it right. It originally started bothering him during the COVID-19 bubble in 2020.
“The next year I played, I think I had a really good start to the season,” Keane said. “I think I got 66 points in 56 games. I’m good, I think I can get it back and not just have surgery. And I had a good year the next year as well and got 92 points in 78 games. “I’m just thinking, I can play with this, this It is the case. “I won’t be at the level I was before, but I can still be an effective player.”
“Obviously there was a lot of roster movement and everything. And some of the guys that I was really getting along with, they made the game easy for me, like [Alex] debrincat, [Dylan] “Strom, we’re not there anymore, so a little bit of construction.”
As he looks to write the next chapter of his career, Kane has signed a one-year contract with Detroit. He believes he can get close to the level he was at before the injury.
“Very confident,” Keane said. “The season ended around May 1st and it took us a good month to figure out what to do. We wanted to make sure we were confident in the decision we were going to make. We decided to have the surgery on June 1st. It was pretty much the best option for me.
“I probably could have had a labral repair and an arthroscope, but with the wear and tear on my hip, that probably would have given me a year or a year and a half, and I would have been in more pain.”… It was the right move to do the resurfacing. … Excited, confident, and very optimistic about where I am now and where I can go from here and about my game in general.”
Kane’s signing with the Red Wings was clearly not out of spite for Chicago. The Red Wings simply checked a lot of boxes for him.
Detroit is an up-and-coming team with a young core, reuniting with his close friend and teammate Alex DeBrincat, and geographically, it’s a midpoint for him between Chicago, where he has a home, and Buffalo, where his family lives. . It seemed like a no-brainer for Ken.
“I think the rivalry has died down a bit, huh?” Ken said. “I’ve never thought about anything like that. Just more convenient for me. Obviously I have complete respect for the organization in Chicago and I would never want to do anything to upset any of the fans or the organization. But I don’t think that’s the case in this case.” “
Since he is on a one-year contract, Kane’s future in Detroit beyond this season is not guaranteed. But he wants to do everything he can to show he can be part of the Red Wings beyond just this season and avoid becoming some kind of NHL player.
“I hope it’s not like six or seven teams, to be honest with you,” Keane said. “I prefer to keep it as low-key as possible. You have a three-year-old son, and it’s hard to move around all the time. I think the situation here is what they’re building, and it’s where I fit into the team. It made a lot of sense to me.”
The Blackhawks play the Red Wings in Detroit on Thursday, but Kane will not be back against his former team just yet. He’s cleared to play, but the Red Wings want to make it easier for him and allow him to get some practices under his belt with his new teammates as he adjusts to the new system and environment.
Circle the calendar for Sunday, February 25, when Kane is set to return to the United Center for the first time as a competitor. It will also be the night of Chris Chelios’ retirement.
Even Ken isn’t sure how he feels that day.
“I have no idea,” Ken said. “I’ve always played with a bit of a chip on the shoulder, so hopefully I’ll have a little bit that night and I can have a good game and help the Wings win. It would be fun to score a goal or two.” “Points, whatever. Just to play well against them.”
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