Kane’s Red Wings comeback echoes Yzerman’s legacy

Steve Yzerman can relate to Patrick Kane as the Detroit Red Wings general manager once found himself in a similar position to Kane’s current one. Yzerman had nothing left to prove late in his career, was destined for the Hockey Hall of Fame, returned from radical surgery, and was determined to keep going.

After conducting thorough research, Yzerman believes that Kane has the potential to play at a high level again, especially after signing a one-year, $2.75 million contract with Detroit on Tuesday.

“Ultimately, we felt that this was worth the risk, so to speak, as he has a good chance of making a successful comeback,” said Yzerman on Wednesday. “He’s definitely going to play. The level of his effectiveness remains to be seen, but based on his health and his testing, I think he has a chance to be very effective.”

Yzerman, a three-time Stanley Cup winner and Conn Smythe Trophy recipient, went through an osteotomy on August 2, 2002, at the age of 37. The procedure became necessary as the cartilage in his right knee had worn away, resulting in bone-on-bone grinding. An osteotomy is a realigning procedure commonly performed on elderly individuals with degenerative bone disease.

Yzerman became the first professional athlete to successfully come back from an osteotomy. After extensive rehabilitation, he made a triumphant return to the Red Wings on February 24, 2003. He played 16 games to conclude the season and was honored with the Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

He did not retire until the 2005-06 season, completing 22 NHL seasons, all with Detroit.

“I absolutely adored playing,” Yzerman reminisced. “I wanted to keep playing. I would have kept playing indefinitely, to be honest. I’m uncertain whether it was the right decision, but I loved playing, and that’s all I had done my entire life.

“Patrick Kane is a highly competitive individual. He has an insatiable desire to play hockey. So, without a long discussion on ‘Why do you want to do this?’ I completely grasp it, for sure.”

Kane, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy, underwent hip resurfacing on June 1 at 35 years old. He had been suffering from an impingement in his right hip, resulting in bone-on-bone grinding. Hip resurfacing involves trimming the femoral head and capping it with a smooth metal covering, while damaged bone and cartilage are removed in the socket and replaced with a metal shell. It is typically performed on patients with advanced arthritis.


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