NHL Unrestricted Free Agent Patrick Kane Shares Optimistic Update on Recovery and Return
Returning to the Ice and Feeling Positive
In a recent conversation with The Associated Press on Thursday, Patrick Kane, a forward currently without an NHL team, revealed that he has already been back on the ice approximately 20 times. Remarkably, he appears to be progressing faster than anticipated in his return to play following hip resurfacing surgery performed on June 1.
Kane expressed his excitement about the positive developments, stating, “It’s truly invigorating to witness the improvement and regain my comfort on the ice.” He said over the phone, “I’m gradually reclaiming my former self, and that’s an auspicious feeling.”
Awaiting Medical Clearance and Upcoming Milestones
At 34, the accomplished three-time Stanley Cup champion looks forward to an upcoming medical appointment where he hopes to receive clearance for contact activities.
The decision to undergo surgery was motivated by a lingering injury that had hindered Kane’s performance during the past year with the Chicago Blackhawks. This persisted even after he was traded to the New York Rangers, affecting his contributions during the latter part of the season and the playoffs.
Balancing Eagerness and Patience
Despite his eagerness to return to competitive action, Kane emphasized his commitment to the original six-month rehabilitation timeline. He shared his perspective, saying, “While I might be capable of returning sooner, the wisest choice might be to allow the full recovery time. Achieving a level of readiness between 105-110% is preferable to settling for 90-95%. Nonetheless, the progress compared to last year is substantial.”
Kane remains patient as he awaits the right opportunity for his next playing destination, anticipating receiving offers once NHL teams initiate their training camps in three weeks. He maintained that he’s open to considering favorable offers and appealing situations, acknowledging, “Despite the circumstances, I wouldn’t rule out exploring promising offers that align with my aspirations.”
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Performance and Achievements
During the previous season, Kane’s performance experienced a dip, concluding with 21 goals and 57 points in 73 games. His injury played a role in this decline, compounded by his presence on a Chicago Blackhawks team in transition during the first 54 games.
Upon his trade to the Rangers, Kane’s output improved, contributing five goals and 12 points across 19 regular-season games. Furthermore, he added a goal and five assists during the Rangers’ seven-game series loss to the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the playoffs.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Kane is the second-highest scorer among U.S.-born players, trailing only Mike Modano with 1,237 points. Kane was an integral part of Chicago’s Stanley Cup victories in 2010, 2013, and 2015, and he was also recognized with the Hart Trophy as the league MVP in 2016.
Overcoming Challenges and Joining a Select Group
Kane, the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, joins a select group that includes Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom and Carl Hagelin as athletes who have undergone this intricate hip surgery in the past year. This procedure involves dislocating the upper section of the thighbone, reshaping it, covering it, and removing cartilage before repositioning it.
Backstrom, also seeking to address a persistent hip issue, returned to play after seven months and concluded the season with 21 points across 39 games. Meanwhile, Hagelin recently announced his retirement, citing a lengthy eye injury that kept him out of action for nearly a year and a half.
Before Backstrom, the only NHL player who successfully returned from hip resurfacing surgery was long-serving defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who competed in 37 more games before retiring from his career on the ice.