The Patrick Kane sweepstakes came to an end on Tuesday after he reportedly agreed to terms with the Detroit Red Wings on a one-year contract.
Connor Bedard, who's the new face of the Chicago Blackhawks, grew up watching Kane and skated with him at the BioSteel Camp in Toronto. He spoke to the media on Tuesday about the nine-time NHL All-Star finding a new home with a longtime rival.
"I think it's always weird to see," Bedard said. "Even last year when he went to New York, it's definitely an adjustment just to your eyes. But it's cool that him and [Alex] DeBrincat will be back together. I'm sure they'll be a pretty exciting duo, so excited to watch. But obviously it's weird when he's here for 16, 17 years. But it'll be fun to watch."
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
It's hard to imagine Kane in a Red Wings sweater. In any jersey that isn't the Blackhawks, for that matter.
Like many others, Bedard thinks it's going to take some time getting used to.
"Him and [Jonathan] Toews being gone, it's weird just from being a fan growing up and seeing the success they had and winning those Cups and everything," Bedard said. "It's weird for every hockey fan not seeing them in Chicago. ... It's probably weird for him, too."
Kane underwent hip resurfacing surgery on June 1 after dealing with the nagging injury for years. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson made sure to work around Kane when it came to his health during his time in Chicago.
"He’s a pro," Richardson said. "He knew what his body needed. Sometimes it was more rest and recovery at his age and obviously maintenance because of the hip injury he had. I think he went for some treatment with his doctor every three or four months or something like that on a schedule. We had to make sure we just managed that schedule for him and it worked for him and the team.
"But he’s low maintenance. He just goes about his business. The odd time you talk to him about maybe the team structure and he’d just smile sheepishly and he knows he does sometimes a little too much out there to try and help the team, but it’s all good intentions.
"He was really good for us at the end and put a show on a few nights there at the trade deadline to show everybody he was still a very effective player out there."
The Blackhawks are scheduled to play the Red Wings in Detroit on Thursday. It's unclear whether or not Kane will be slotted into the lineup immediately, but the Blackhawks are preparing for that possibility.
"If he’s ready to sign, I’m sure he’s ready to play," Richardson said. "I expect to see him. The good thing is our guys know him and know, as good as he is, his tendencies out there. That’s an easy pre-scout for us, but he is so good that he still gets things done out there. We definitely always have to keep an eye out on him."