DETROIT (AP) — Patrick Kane is back.
Kane took the first shift at right wing with the Detroit Red Wings against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night in his season debut, and just missed on a shot that potentially could have made the difference in a 6-5 overtime loss.
Early in the third, Kane just missed on a scoring opportunity.
He was all alone for a point-blank shot in front of backup goalie Kaapo Kahkonen and hit wrist shot hit the left post to turn cheers into a collective sigh from the crowd.
The 35-year-old Kane had his right hip surgically repaired six months ago and is shooting to become the third NHL player to come back from the invasive procedure.
Detroit signed the playmaking wing last week to a prorated $2.75 million contract for the rest of the season to bolster its chances of earning a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion and 2016 NHL MVP feels significantly better than the last time he played on May 1 for the New York Rangers against New Jersey in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series.
Kane is shooting to join Ed Jovanovski and Nicklas Backstrom as NHL players to come back hip resurfacing surgery. The operation involves dislocating the upper end of the thighbone, trimming it, capping it and removing cartilage before putting it back in place.
“You can look at some players who’ve done it in the past and maybe they’re at the end of their career and it didn’t really work for them,” Kane said. “But I have a lot of optimism about it and I think you’re going to see more and more players do it.”
Tennis star Andy Murray also had the surgery, providing another source of hope for Kane.
“He had a couple scopes as well and decided to go to the resurfacing and it seems like he’s had a lot of success,” Kane said. “He’s still playing. I think it’s been maybe three, four years since he’s done the resurfacing, so it seems like it’s been pretty successful for him.”
Kane took a step toward his quest to become a significant NHL player again, lining up at right wing in Detroit's starting lineup along with center Joe Veleno and former Chicago Blackhawks teammate Alex DeBrincat.
He played 4-plus minutes in the first and had a shot to score late in the period, but his wrist shot — his first of three in the game — was stopped by San Jose goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood. In the second period, Kane had a cross-ice pass deflected and sent over the glass and had another shot stopped.
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