Patrick Kane is signing a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings, sources
told ESPN on Tuesday.
who spent the first 16 years of his NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks before
a trade to the New York Rangers last
spring, is six months out from hip resurfacing surgery. The nine-time All-Star
has met with a handful of teams over the past month, including his hometown Buffalo Sabres, the Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.
According to sources, Kane narrowed his focus and was down to two Eastern
Conference teams in the final week of his decision.
Kane, 35, relocated his family to Toronto to rehab from the
surgery over the past six months. Dr. Edward Hsu performed the hip resurfacing,
and Ian MacIntyre oversaw Kane's rehab. In Toronto, Kane skated with former NHL
player Cody Hodgson, who helped him with battle drills and fed him pucks.
According to several sources, Kane was asked on Zoom meetings by
general managers and coaches why he wanted to put his body through the grueling
rehab process, especially for a surgery with little proof of concept in the
NHL, and his answer was repeatedly: "Because I love the game."
Kane showed humility through the process, sources said,
constantly saying he knew he needed "to earn my spot," and saying he
didn't expect to play on a team's first line or first power-play unit.
Kane has 1,237 points in 1,180 games during his NHL career,
fourth-most among active players. His 451 career goals is the sixth-most among
the end, according to sources, Kane was impressed by Red Wings coach Derek
Lalonde's X's and O's hockey acumen and vision for the team. The move also
gives Kane a chance to reunite with one of his favorite Chicago linemates, Alex DeBrincat.
the rehab process, Kane was in touch with other athletes who had hip
resurfacing, including Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who
recently stepped away from the game, as well as tennis star Andy Murray.
The Red Wings are in a seven-year playoff drought, but they are
starting to show signs of progress in the rebuild. As of Tuesday, Detroit is in
third place in the Atlantic Division with an 11-6-3 record.
The NHL All-Star Weekend is returning to its roots -- and
bringing back an old favorite.
When the showcase lands in Toronto this February, it'll be as an
expanded three-day event with NHL All-Star Thursday added ahead of the usual
Friday skills competition and Saturday All-Star Game. The highlight of its
Thursday festivities will be the league's first All-Star player draft in nearly
a decade, with four All-Star captains -- and their celebrity captain partners
-- drafting teams for Saturday's contest live in front of fans at Scotiabank
Following the draft, which begins at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 1, the NHL
will hold a tribute ceremony honoring members of the 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs and
then stage a 3-on-3 event with the Professional Women's Hockey League.
There is also a completely revamped skills format for Friday to
The NHL had been thinking about refreshing its All-Star Weekend
for years. It has held three previous player drafts between 2011 and 2015 but
in recent years have iced more traditional division-based tournaments.
This time around, the league's host city of Toronto provided the
perfect backdrop to finally roll out a few changes.
"It's a hockey-crazed crowd up there that just wants more
and more," said Steve Mayer, the NHL's Chief Content Officer. "We'd
bantered around other ideas and just decided, 'Let's see whether we can add an
extra day.' We held the player draft years ago and it was good, but we drifted
away from it. And over the course of the last few years, we've talked about it
returning just as an added piece to the weekend. And we have also heard from
our players and our fans that, 'Hey, wouldn't it be interesting if we brought
it back?' We think it just adds to the overall week of activities for All-Star,
and it's something that if it works out, it'll be here to stay."
Mayer said the league will determine its four All-Star captains
based on their celebrity pairing. The NHL is targeting "passionate hockey
fans" for those roles, some of whom may already have existing
relationships with certain players or ties to a particular club. Together, the
captains will pick from the pool of available All-Stars until there are four
left; a special guest will then assign those players to their respective teams.
There will still be a fan vote element as well beginning in
early January, where fans can select 12 players to compete in the All-Star
Game. The league will announce its player and celebrity captains in January,
too. The hope is to enliven the whole event with some unpredictable and amusing
"That dynamic [of player and celebrity] this time around is
going to be really fun, very unique," Mayer said. "We're looking for
humor in these events, we're looking to bring out the player personality, we're
looking at something that is going to be memorable. We've learned from doing it
in the past."
fans are likely to recall how Phil Kessel -- then a member of the Maple Leafs
-- was picked last in the NHL's inaugural "Fantasy Draft" at the 2011
All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina. Then the league decided its last man
standing deserved a car at the next player draft, encouraging Washington Capitals' star Alex Ovechkin to beg not to be chosen so he could take
home some new wheels.
It's that sort of energy the NHL is hoping to tap into again.
"The player personality comes out in an event like
this," Mayer said. "They're talking, they're either raising their
hand to be picked or putting their hand down so they wouldn't get picked by
certain teams. You've got all these great dynamics of a draft with former
teammates, current teammates, friends from growing up. It's a pretty cool
opportunity for players to draft people that they know and build their own
Mayer said the NHL solicited feedback from the players' association
about how to upgrade the All-Star Weekend experience for players themselves.
Tapping back into the draft only made sense -- especially considering one of
its original creators happens to be Maple Leafs president and alternate
governor Brendan Shanahan.
Shanahan was working for the league in 2011 when he and fellow
former NHLer Rob Blake came up with the idea of a player fantasy draft. When
Toronto agreed to take on the All-Star Game this year, it only made sense to
revive the player draft, too.
"It was originally thought of as bringing hockey back to
its roots and letting the players pick the teams," Shanahan said. "We
all remember playing road hockey and standing in a big group and having a
couple of guys starting to pick teams and how that created fun and anxiety for
people doing the picking and people being picked. The motivation behind it was
just having a little bit of fun and asking the players to sort of go back to
their roots. Sometimes, [All-Star Weekend] is in a warm-weather place [which
guys like], but I also think when you have an opportunity to go to an Original
Six city and celebrate the game's history, that's important too."
The league will spotlight Toronto's background with its ceremony
acknowledging the 1967 Leafs. Every living member of that team -- the last to
win a Stanley Cup in Toronto -- is expected to be in attendance, and Mayer
expects an "emotional" response from the crowd. And from there, the
NHL was eager to give the newly formed PWHL a standalone 3-on-3 showcase of its
own this year as opposed to just including a few players in the mix Friday or
The NHL skills competition is also going through a revamp, with
details still being firmed up. The events themselves will veer closer to hockey
skills rather than some recent competitions like the dunk tank at last year's
NHL All-Star Game in South Florida. There's also expected to be a greater
emphasis on superstar players during the evening.
"Part of the skills changes are after conversations with
our players. We don't want to just assume that we're good," Mayer said.
"We always feel like we can be better. So, we talked to the players, we
talked to the fans, we're talking to our broadcasters, we get a lot of input.
We don't need to make changes for the sake of changing but sometimes it just
feels right, especially when you've done something for [so many] years in a
row. And this year it just felt right. They're not dramatic changes; they're
subtle changes that at the end of the day, we think will improve the
"The NHL is responding to feedback from players,"
Shanahan said. "From what I've heard, I think players around the league
have provided [their thoughts] and I think part of just the excitement is that
they will have had a hand in helping redesign the All-Star Game itself."
Mayer gives credit to the league's team behind the scenes for
brainstorming and ultimately creating a reimagined All-Star Weekend that it is
confident players and fans will embrace.
"We're not sitting on our laurels. We're always looking to
be better, we're always looking to be a little more interesting," Mayer
said. "You're going to see a general theme and that is an added Thursday night,
a new skills format, the game now will be different because it's not just going
to be the division against division, but these teams that we draft against each
other. It just gets us all fired up. We're enlivened by all these format
Tickets to NHL All-Star Thursday will be available via
Ticketmaster starting Tuesday, December 5th at 10 a.m. ET.