Kane will make his debut against the Senators on Thursday
NEW YORK – Patrick Kane is ready to put the past behind him to help the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 29 years.
“The last week has been a whirlwind,” Kane said in Madison Square Garden on Thursday. “Right now, I’m just looking forward to getting to the arena, meeting everyone and hanging out with the team. »
Kane waived the no-move clause he had in his eight-year contract signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2014 in order to be traded to the Rangers on Tuesday in a three-team trade also involving the Chicago Coyotes. Arizona. Kane played in his 1,161 NHL games spanning 16 years with Chicago.
The 34-year-old forward visited the team’s training facility in suburban New York on Wednesday and was on the Garden ice for 20 minutes on Thursday to prepare for his Rangers debut against the Ottawa Senators in the evening (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN5, MSG, ESPN+, SN NOW).
“It’s different,” Kane said. You have to get used to it. It reminds me a bit of when I was going to play with the United States at the World Championship or the Olympics. You put on different gear and try to get used to it, but you always end up going back to your Blackhawks uniform. So it’s different this time around, but it’s one of the original six teams, an organization with a lot of history playing in an amazing building in front of awesome fans, so that’s exciting. »
Kane said the decision to leave the only NHL team he played with was not easy, but the opportunity to join the Rangers, who are third in the Metropolitan Division, was too good to pass up. pass.
He has 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 54 games this season and could become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
“It’s never really real until it actually happens, and that’s when you really realize it,” Kane added. I am excited to live this experience and to have this opportunity. I have the chance to join another organization with different players. I’m just really nervous. »
Kane didn’t believe Rangers were going to be an option for him again after they acquired the striker Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues on February 9. He had expressed his disappointment at the time, saying, “I have already been happier learning about a transaction. It was a team that interested me. »
His optimism returned when he realized that the Rangers still wanted to acquire him and that they would agree to make trades and free up space under the salary cap to make it happen.
That’s exactly what New York has been doing for the past week. They got help from the Blackhawks, who withheld 50 percent of Kane’s salary, and the Coyotes, who withheld 50 percent of the remaining salary as the third team. Rangers pay just 25 per cent of Kane’s salary, allowing them to stay within the salary cap.
“I wasn’t extremely upset when they went for Tarasenko, it just didn’t seem like an option for me anymore,” Kane said. Today, of course, I am very happy that they made this decision and that we are both here. I can’t wait to play with “Vladdy”. I think he is an extraordinary player and I am happy that we are on the same side. »
Kane knows the Rangers striker well Artemi Panarinwhich explains why he wanted to join in New York.
He and Panarin played together in Chicago for two seasons between 2015 and 2017. They were on the same line in 2015-16, when Kane won the Hart Trophy as his team’s most valuable player and Panarin won the Calder Trophy, awarded to the rookie of the year.
They’ll be on the same line against the Senators, and Vincent Trocheck will be their center player.
“We see hockey the same way,” Panarin said after the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. “We don’t need to look where the other is, we feel it. I hope that chemistry is still in us. »