It’s been quite some time since a large portion of the crowd at Little Caesars Arena ensured they had arrived well before puck drop. There must have been six rows deep of fans on the glass on Thursday night, hoping to catch a good glimpse of star forward Patrick Kane during warmups ahead of his debut with the Detroit Red Wings.
Kane, 35, a future Hall of Famer, joins this group in Detroit, hoping to be the missing piece up front that stood between them and the postseason. The lure of playing with Alex DeBrincat again also played a significant role in Kane’s decision to join the Detroit Red Wings over other, maybe more enticing, options.
Kane, although a bit rusty, looked the part of a star. His lateral movements looked pain-free, and his creativity and vision looked terrific. Although Kane will need to get a few more games under his belt to get his timing down with his new teammates, he did look extremely confident and dangerous nearly every shift. He and DeBrincat have a knack for playing together, knowing where each will be at any given time. Kane sent a cross-seam floating pass through a host of players to what appeared to be an open wing in the offensive zone, and just as you thought it was going to be a turnover, boom, DeBrincat flashed at nearly full speed, accepting the feed right on his tape. It went both ways as the game continued between the two, which is a great sign of things to come for the Red Wings for the remainder of the year.
Patrick Kane was just as advertised in his debut with the Detroit Red Wings.
Kane, who played 16:33 in his first contest, had his fair share of scoring chances, but none were better than his mini-breakaway. Kane scampered in all alone on goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and rang the goal post with a shot. That goes in often, but Kane is a bit rusty and just missed.
Following the game, Kane talked about his performance and how he felt playing in his first game in seven months.
"“I’ll definitely have to build up the timing, the confidence, getting back to trying to take over when you have the puck on your stick, take over games,” Kane said. “I think a little bit tentative tonight at times. Overall, it felt pretty good; felt like I was making some plays. Just felt good to be out there and be playing in the best league in the world again.”“It’s more for me just getting my timing, understanding the team’s structure, and then doing what I do when I get the puck,” Kane said. “Overall, as far as the first game, I thought the body felt pretty good.”“Obviously, it’s different in a game,” Kane said. “You never really know what to expect. Hits might be a little bit harder, a little bit more forceful, but overall, I felt fine.”"
There wasn’t much good to take away from a 6-5 loss to the lousy San Jose Sharks, especially considering that the Red Wings blew a 4-0 lead. Surrendering a four-goal lead is inexcusable, but how the Red Wings blew the lead had been bizarre and baffling. Detroit allowed a pair of short-handed goals on the same power play, and then, seconds following San Jose’s penalty expiring, they struck again. San Jose eventually completed the comeback a few minutes later; all four goals were scored in under 6 minutes of play.
Detroit would eventually lose the game in overtime, 6-5. I hate to point to just two players, but goaltender Ville Husso isn’t the same player he had been for the first half of last season. Husso has become a liability in the net, and the Detroit Red Wings need to start rolling with Alex Lyon as the starter and James Reimer as the backup until their on-ice play suggests otherwise. Husso has allowed three or more goals in 12 of his 14 starts this season and four or more in seven of those games.
Also, Jake Walman played maybe his worst game as a Red Wing. At times, Walman looked lost on the ice and seemed to lack hustle on two of San Jose’s goals. He and Moritz Seider looked out of sorts, which likely played a role in Walman being relegated to the third pairing with Justin Holl in favor of Shayne Gostisbehere. I wouldn’t hit the panic button or anything; players will have a bad day every now and then. If head coach Derek Lalonde wanted to give Walman a breather, he’s got veteran Olli Maatta waiting in the wings. That said, sometimes, when a player struggles like Walman did Thursday, getting right back on the ice a day or two later is the best thing for them.