Blackhawks

Patrick Kane cleared to return to Blackhawks lineup

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Patrick Kane cleared to return to Blackhawks lineup

Patrick Kane emerged from the locker room wearing the familiar red sweater of a top-six forward.

Gone was that white don’t-hit-me sweater Kane wore during his last practice with the Blackhawks. He was cleared for contact and is taking some hits around that fractured left clavicle that’s cost him the past seven weeks.

When asked after practice if Kane could play Wednesday when the Blackhawks face the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their first-round series, coach Joel Quenneville said, “yeah he could.” Later in the afternoon, however, that likely turned into a definitely.

Kane was cleared for full participation a few hours after practice, the team announced. Dr. Michael Terry released a statement regarding Kane around 5 p.m. Monday.

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“Patrick has been working extremely diligently with his rehabilitation and has recently returned to full-contact practice without any difficulty,” the statement read. “After discussions with Patrick and the team, and examining Patrick today, we collectively feel it is appropriate, with minimal risk, for him to return to full participation.”

Kane was back on the second line with Kris Versteeg and Brad Richards – the trio that was stellar from mid-November through December – on Monday. Speaking before he was fully cleared, Kane was happy with his progress.

“Where I’m at right now is [to] just to kind of go through practice today and get as ready as possible and try to feel what it’s like to be in a game simulation,” he said. “I thought it was a good day, a good practice for the team overall. Overall, I feel pretty good. I just have to take it day by day right now.”

For Kane the wait’s been long, although not as long as originally expected. He credits the Blackhawks’ doctors and staff for that. Kane said he “pretty much had full range of motion within the first week” following his Feb. 25 surgery. He’s taken some contact, some pushing and shoving, but nothing severe. That will likely change when he does return to the lineup; it’s the playoffs and big hits are just par for the course, whether you’re coming off an injury or not.

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Kane admits he’ll be thinking about when that first big hit comes.

“A little bit. I think like anything you try to be cautious with it at first,” he said. “I've talked with different guys who that have had the injury and they say when you're cleared, you're cleared. You just have to have some faith and trust in the healing process.”

Richards, who missed the Blackhawks’ last three regular-season games with an upper-body injury, skated with Kane over the past week.

“He just looks like Patrick to me…” he said. “Today was another day that was a step in the right direction for Kaner and for other guys, so you wake up tomorrow and come back at it and see where you’re at. Either way, it’s exciting for everybody because we know we’re starting the best part of what we do, is starting Wednesday night, so that’s exciting for everybody.”

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With Kane’s return the Blackhawks get a jolt in a lot of ways. He was the most consistent scorer and led the NHL in points at the time of his injury. He’s key on the power play and also critical to the team’s puck-possession game, which has struggled in his absence.

“Yeah, it gives us a boost in offense and just overall play and our depth. We missed him,” Bryan Bickell said. “I thought we did pretty good at the start without him but not as of late. We couldn’t find a way to get goals. Hopefully he can spark us on the power play, which is needed. There are going to be more special teams in the playoffs.”

The light is green for Kane’s return. The Blackhawks were looking for a boost, a jolt, entering this postseason. They just got it.

Inside Patrick Kane's gameday routine with Blackhawks

Inside Patrick Kane's gameday routine with Blackhawks

It's been a memorable week for Patrick Kane.

He became the ninth player in London Knights history to have his jersey retired and first to do so after playing just one season. He also became the youngest American-born player ever and 90th player in NHL history to hit the 1,000-point mark for his career.

And this weekend, the Blackhawks superstar is participating in his ninth career NHL All-Star Game. The average amount of All-Star appearances for the other 39 players combined is 2.4.

At age 31, Kane is still at the top of his game and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

To get a glimpse of how one of the greatest players in the game prepares, NBC Sports Chicago takes you inside Kane's gameday routine on a typical home game with a 7:30 p.m. start. 

8:30 a.m. — Wake up

The alarm sounds. Kane is up and immediately jumps in the shower. He doesn't waste any time.

After getting dressed, Kane places his breakfast order to the team, which he will eat at the rink.

"Two eggs over medium with sweet potatoes, spinach and then berries," Kane said. "And they have a green drink for us usually, so that's my breakfast."

On practice days, his breakfast includes egg whites. On the second game of a back-to-back, he might have some oatmeal or overnight oats.

"I like to switch it up," Kane said. "Not try to eat the same thing every day."

9:10 a.m. — Arrive at the rink

Kane lives in Gold Coast Chicago, so his commute to and from the United Center isn't very long. He typically listens to music, but not always.

"Sometimes podcasts if there's something I'm interested in listening to," Kane said. "If there's a good Spittin' Chiclets episode I'll listen to that. But it's only 10-15 minutes in the car for me, so usually I'll listen to whatever music in the morning."

What kind of music?

"It's kind of rotated throughout the years," Kane said. "But nothing too heavy in the morning. Just wake up and get going."

9:30 a.m. — Team meeting before morning skate

After eating breakfast, Kane is ready for the regularly scheduled special teams meeting. First the penalty kill then the power play. But he's one of three players exempt from the former.

"Me, [Alex] DeBrincat and [Dylan] Strome are the only ones that don't attend that meeting," Kane said with a laugh.

Of course, the three of them will attend the power play meeting shortly after.

By that point, it's around 10 a.m. Kane spends the next 10 minutes "getting the body ready for morning skate," which starts at 10:30. He begins putting on his equipment around 10:10 before hitting the ice and he’s usually one of the first ones out there.

Morning skate runs about 20 minutes long, but most guys stay on the ice longer and often times play a game called “Two-Puck," where you get two chances to score on the goaltender. The first is a shot from the slot. The second is a shootout-type attempt. Make one of the two and you advance to the next round. Last one standing wins. Kane is a frequent participant. You can only imagine how many wins he's racked up over the years.

11:15 a.m. — "Marination Session"

After fulfilling his media obligations, Kane heads to the lounge with a few teammates — DeBrincat and Strome are regulars — to hang out. This is one of Kane’s favorite activities of the day.

"We call it our Marination Session,” Kane said smiling. “We just marinate on the couch for the next 45 minutes because we got some pretty comfortable couches there. Usually we'll be watching Hockey Central on Sportsnet. We'll watch that and just relax and talk about hockey and just sit and marinate on the couch for the next little bit."

12 p.m. — Lunch

Once the Marination Session is over, Kane hops in the shower before eating lunch with a handful of teammates at the rink. Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews are always part of the group, along with strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman. Same with Kirby Dach, who’s living with Seabrook this season. Strome is slowly starting to become a regular. 

“We had a bigger crew in the past,” Kane said. “But it seems like most guys like to take their food home now, so we only have four or five guys. A couple guys now are starting to join in. It’s getting to be a bigger crew."

Kane’s go-to meal for lunch? Chicken with asparagus and some gluten-free pasta.

2:30-4:30 p.m. — Pregame nap 

Just before 1 p.m., Kane is back home for the afternoon. He stays up for a bit and unwinds before taking a pregame nap, which is the most well-known hockey tradition. 

And Kane isn’t afraid to share his naps have gotten longer this season.

"This year I've been doing like two-hour naps,” Kane said. “They're nice. I always get in bed for my nap and tell my girlfriend, ‘this is the best part of game day.’ It's nice to have that two-hour nap at home and get up and get ready for the game.”

By 4:30, Kane is awake and ready to start his pregame preparations. He hops in the shower — his third of the day — and counts on his girlfriend Amanda to bump up the tunes.

“She has a playlist that will go throughout the house,” Kane said.

After putting on his suit, Kane is ready to roll out.

5:15 p.m. — Arrive at United Center

The Blackhawks are required to be at the arena by 5:30 because they have a team meeting at 5:45. Kane likes to make sure he has his ducks in a row before that.

"Usually before then I'm getting all my equipment ready,” Kane said. “Tape your stick, make sure everything else is good.”

The meeting isn’t a long one. It’s a quick final rundown of the opponent that night and lasts about 5-10 minutes.

“After that I have a little bit of time,” Kane said. “Go back on the couch for like 20 minutes, sit there for a little bit, and then I go do my off-ice warmup.”

His off-ice warmup begins with a 5-10-minute stretch with Goodman, who’s been with the team for 12 seasons.

“He’ll stretch me out and activate everything,” Kane said. “Get everything going then do maybe 5-7 minutes on my own, just kind of a dynamic warmup. Usually I have a tennis ball, throw it around with Pauly and against the wall, different things. Run some routes, we say, and then get ready for the game."

7 p.m. — Pregame warmups

Kane’s body is fully activated by this point and ready to hit the ice for pregame warmups. He’s the second to last one out of the tunnel, in front of Toews and behind Duncan Keith — the three current team captains with Seabrook out for the season.

After a 16-minute warmup, Kane is the last one off the ice, a tradition he started way before the NHL. The last time he didn't follow that was Feb. 24, 2015, which happened to be the game Kane broke his collarbone and missed the remainder of the regular season. He was on pace to be the NHL’s leading scorer. Now he makes sure he’s always the last one off, no matter what.

7:40 p.m. — Puck drop 

The game has officially started. Kane averages the sixth-most minutes of any NHL forward, so you’ll see him on the ice more than most.

Where we don’t see him is during the 17-minute intermissions.

"I'll sit there and retape my stick,” Kane said. “Probably like a 2-3-minute leg shake-out with Pauly in the intermission and then just sit there and get ready. I'll take all my top equipment off, untie my skates then put them back on."

10:10 p.m. — End game

A little after 10, the game will have ended. Give or take a few minutes, depending on whether the game finished in regulation or went to overtime.

If Kane had a big night, he'll speak to the media for a second time. Recently, that's been the case.

Some players have a post-game workout. But Kane normally isn't one of them.

"It depends," Kane said. "Sometimes you're so tired after the game you just sit there and relax, kind of chill that way. I usually like getting in the sauna after the game or like going from the sauna to the cold tub, back and forth. Other times, if we have back-to-back games, I'll probably get my body stretched out a little bit and get ready that way."

11 p.m. — Postgame meal before bed

After a busy night on the ice, Kane starts to unwind off it. He hasn't eaten since lunch and doesn't like to eat right before game time, so this is when he'll finally get his postgame meal in.

"Sometimes I'll go out to eat after and you're not getting back until like midnight or maybe even 12:30," Kane said. "And then I like to wind down for 30-45 minutes, watch TV. I usually watch a show sometimes, get your mind off hockey a little bit.

"But I'll also check up on the highlights too and see what's going on that night. If I'm in bed by 1:30, 2:00 after a game, if I'm sleeping by then I'm pretty happy."

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Patrick Kane’s 2010 Game 6 OT goal named Goal of the Decade by the NHL

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USA Today

Patrick Kane’s 2010 Game 6 OT goal named Goal of the Decade by the NHL

Since joining the NHL in 2007, Patrick Kane continues to have a long and illustrious career. He was recently honored for being the 90th player in NHL history for to record 1,000 points, the fourth only member of the franchise to do so. Now, as a lead up to announcing their First and Second All-Decade teams on Jan. 24, the NHL has awarded Kane with Goal of the Decade.

The goal being celebrated occurred during Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers. Chicago fans all remember the moment. The Blackhawks and Flyers were tied 3-3 after regulation and 4:06 into overtime, Kane scores the game-winning goal. With that goal, the Blackhawks win the Cup, ending the championship drought in Chicago after 49 years.

The Flyers tied the game with 3:59 minutes remaining in regulation, but Kane brought back the win for the Blackhawks. To call it triumphant would be a massive understatement.

WATCH: Patrick Kane's 2010 Stanley Cup-winning Goal of the Decade

"I was calling for the puck, trying to make a play on the defenseman [Kimmo] Timonen," Kane told NHL.com. "I just got around him and saw a path to be able to get a puck on net. I wasn't really thinking I'd score on that shot but maybe you're shooting for a rebound, create some havoc. I just saw it go through his legs, hit the pad and stick in the inside of the net there."

This honor comes on the heels former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville being back in Chicago for the first time since the Blackhawks let him go in 2018. He was honored at the United Center on the same night at Kane’s pregame ceremony celebrating 1,000 points.

The Blackhawks went on to win two more Stanley Cups in the decade, but Kane’s goal was the one that started them all.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.