Patrick Kane has returned to the ice. For the first time , Kane practiced with the team on Wednesday, and he was just glad to be back in action following offseason hip surgery.
"It felt good," Kane said. "It's good to be back in the NHL."
Last season, Kane was hampered by a hip injury that capped what he could do on the ice. In his first press conference with the Detroit media, Kane said it was a "limiting" injury that forced him to make plays "one-legged."
When asked how he feels now, several months removed from surgery, Kane said the difference is night and day.
"I feel a lot better than compared to last year," Kane said. "Just the ability to put weight on the right leg and shift weight side to side. Also, just my lateral movement is better. Crossovers, left over right, were a struggle for me last year. That feels good as well. I think I'm in a good spot."
Even though Kane feels like he's back to full health, he will take some time to get acclimated to his new team before playing in a game. The newest member of the Red Wings highlighted the Dec. 5 road game against the Buffalo Sabres and the Dec. 7 home game against the San Jose Sharks as possible dates for his debut.
After his first practice with the Wings, Kane also offered an explanation as to why he chose them over several other suitors. Between what general manager Steve Yzerman has built and the existing relationship with fellow winger Alex DeBrincat, Kane thought Detroit was the best landing spot for him.
"I just thought the fit was good, right?" Kane said. "That's not to say it wasn't good anywhere else, but I think with a young team that's been playing well as of late, I can come in and build my game. Not too much pressure on me with the success they're having this year.
"Probably the DeBrincat factor had something to do with it too. Just being comfortable playing with him, not only on the ice, but off the ice too. Excited to build that chemistry again. We had some really good moments in Chicago. It'll be fun to play with him again," he added.
If Kane is back at full health, or anything close to it, he should be able to help the Red Wings end their seven-year playoff drought. A three-time Stanley Cup champion and former Hart Trophy winner, Kane brings 1,180 career games, 451 goals, and 786 assists with him to Detroit.