Sunday, April 21, 2024

Patrick Kane Toys With Blackhawks Fans’ Hearts One Last Time To Close Storybook Return


Though Feb. 25 was circled on the Blackhawks’ calendar all season as the date of Chris Chelios’ jersey retirement ceremony, much of the attention in the United Center was focused on another legendary Blackhawk – Patrick Kane. In his first return to Chicago since being traded at an emotional trade deadline last spring, the atmosphere in the UC was about as electric as one could expect.

From the moment Kaner entered the city for his first game as a visitor, he said his emotions were flowing freely.

“Seeing the skyline and everything like that, it hits home a little bit more. I’m sure it’ll all come back to me tonight. … I keep thinking I’m not going to have too much emotion, but you never know once those things go down.”

– Patrick Kane

Before he donned his new Red Wings uniform on the ice, Kane was in attendance to honor Chelios, who included him in his speech.

Given that the above recognition doesn’t come close to doing Kane’s time in Chicago justice, #88 received perhaps the biggest ovation ever given in the history of the United Center. A roar well over 90 seconds long featured Kaner taking three laps, soaking in the gratitude of the fans who had watched him for 16 seasons.

In front of the biggest crowd of the season for the Blackhawks, Kaner’s return wasn’t all perfect, at least on his end. In what proved to be a pretty iconic moment, rookie phenom Connor Bedard made his presence felt on the all-time great in a classic future vs. past highlight reel.

After the game, Kane brought up the hit:

“He’s lucky he had the bubble on, or I was going after him.”

– Patrick Kane

Still, it was Kane who got the last laugh over the Blackhawks. On a breakaway attempt in overtime, he put the puck over the shoulder of goaltender Petr Mrazek, putting a bow on a storybook night.

Kane’s effect on the city was so palpable throughout his career that even a Red Wings game-winning goal had the arena rocking. He even took a final ovation lap, and Blackhawks fans couldn’t help but applaud.

Even on what was obviously a night shared by Kane and Chelios, Bedard made his impact felt in what felt a bit like a passing of the baton. Besides the hit on “Showtime”, he had an assist to increase his NHL-leading rookie points total. Additionally, Kane raved Sunday about Bedard’s skill level.

“He’s very creative out there but when I think about him, I think about the work you have to put in to be at that level, right? Some people think it’s God-given talent or things like that.”

– Patrick Kane

While Sunday night may be remembered for an electric jersey retirement ceremony, another Blackhawks legend made it an impossible evening to forget. Kane electrified the United Center one last time, albeit wearing a different uniform.


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Feb 26, 2024 10:43 am

Good article as usual, Issac! However, I wish you would’ve mentioned that Kane‘s breakaway came about because Seth Jones decided to be a hero in the three on three OT. Taking the puck all the way in deep, not passing to several teammates that were slightly more open than he was, and he got himself caught in too far and of course, nobody was back to defend the blue line, which is where Kane was. Got the outlet pass and was gone and scored the game winner in OT. Thanks Seth Jones.

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