Patrick Kane took the practice ice Thursday morning in New York wearing a different sweater for the first time in his 16 years in the NHL.
On Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, Kane will be playing his first game as a New York Ranger.
Kane has only known the Chicago Blackhawks, the team he won three Stanley Cups with. But as the team’s struggles continued this season, Kane decided it was the time to exercise his right to approve a trade.
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“You go back and forth in your head a bunch of times about a trade, but I just feel like this is such an amazing opportunity with what they have going on here in New York,” Kane said in his first press conference, via the New York Post.
“And you know, when the option was still there to possibly make a move, it wasn’t the easiest decision, but I’m just really excited to be here. With this team, with the amount of skill and good players that they have here, it’s just another chance to make a run.”
The New York Rangers are clearly making a push for the Stanley Cup, and Kane was long rumored to be the player they were after to help them get there. New York fell short last season after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals. GM Chris Drury’s plan was to acquire offensive firepower.
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The Blackhawks were also prepared to move Kane, who didn’t play in the team’s three games before he was dealt. It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow because of the history he’s had with the team. Kane was a cornerstone for Chicago in their 2010, 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup victories, but the Blackhawks need to rebuild and Kane is looking for more rings.
New York’s energy is already rubbing off on Kane, and some of that has to do with the other team at MSG — the New York Knicks — loving his arrival as well.
Knicks star guard Jalen Brunson was already spotted with his No. 88 Kane jersey Wednesday night.
“I went to the practice facility yesterday and [Brunson’s] dad was in there,” Kane said, per the Post. “Jalen FaceTimed his dad, and then he put me on the phone. So it was good. I was talking with him for a little bit, and he said he was looking forward to coming to a game and vice versa. I’d love to go to a Knicks game and support him as well.”
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It also helps that a familiar face is in the building for Kane in Artemi Panarin. His first two seasons were in Chicago before joining the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“Today’s the first time I’ve seen him in a long time,” Kane said of Panarin. “Just being able to be around him – definitely missed that over the last five, six, seven years. Just picked up right where we left off.”
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Kane is expected to play with Panarin and Vincent Trocheck on the Rangers’ second line, but head coach Gerard Gallant will show his plans for his new winger when they take on the Ottawa Senators at 7 p.m. ET.