Probably the best-known player to play for both sides of the bitter Chicago-Detroit rivalry in the NHL is Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios. He arguably will be surpassed in that regard on Thursday night when Blackhawks legend and former Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane, among the greatest American players in history, makes his season debut for the Red Wings against the visiting San Jose Sharks. Kane is +175 at DraftKings to score a goal.
Kane had hip resurfacing surgery on June 1 and needed months to get back into playing condition – and then pick a team. Not every club was interested in a now-35-year-old coming off that type of rare procedure. Kane finished with a solid 21 goals and 36 assists last season with the Blackhawks and Rangers after Chicago traded him to New York to help Kane try to win a fourth Stanley Cup. He was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2013. The Rangers flamed out in the first round of the playoffs and were never that interested in bringing Kane back.
"Going to New York was a new challenge for me," Kane said. "I was really excited about it but it didn't really go the way I expected or the team expected. I figured at that point it was probably time to do something to give myself a chance to get back to a high level -- almost more mentally rather than physically. I don't want to say [I was] miserable, but I was thinking about [my hip] every day."
In mid-November, SportsLine offered odds on Kane's next team and Detroit was a fourth-favorite behind Buffalo, Toronto and Florida. The thinking was that Kane wanted to play for a sure-fire contender. The Sabres aren't that, but he's from Buffalo and just getting that team to the playoffs would have made Kane a hero in his hometown. The Maple Leafs and Panthers are absolutely contenders and Toronto seemed to make a ton of sense as Kane relocated his family there for six months as he rehabbed from the surgery.
But Kane chose Detroit, which hasn't made the playoffs since 2016 (but the arrow is pointing up), in part because of excellent Wings forward Alex DeBrincat, his former linemate in Chicago. Kane also moved away from home to play for the Michigan-based Honeybaked AAA program in Motown at age 14. Kane loved the city and few teams have more history and tradition. He agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Red Wings on Nov. 28.
There was speculation that Kane would debut for Detroit on Tuesday against the Sabres, but Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde opted to hold him out and get one more practice in.
"We'll be smart in how we use him," Lalonde said. "I don't know if he's ready for a regular shift. I think we'll probably monitor it. We'll have a target, minute-wise, on what we want to do with him, but we'll get a feel. He feels really good, body-wise, but he's joining us at a time where we have a slew of games. We haven't been able to practice as much as we would have liked."
Kane also has over/under props of 2.5 shots on goal (Over a -160 favorite) and 0.5 points (Over a -190 favorite).
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