SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The familiar red No. 88 took the ice and the fans cheered their approval. It was pretty much business as usual for the Chicago Blackhawks as they opened training camp today at Notre Dame.
Of course, that's not the case for Patrick Kane off the ice. But when he hit the sheet at Compton Ice Arena, the roar was clearly evident. So were the No. 88 jerseys in the crowd.
"That's a pretty cool reaction, especially given the circumstances," Kane said . "You didn't really know what to expect. I thought it was one of those things when you're going on the ice you don't know what's going to happen. To hear that reaction from the crowd definitely gave me chills. It was an exciting moment."
There are about 4,000 red and white-clad fans in the stands as the Stanley Cup champions return to work for the first time since winning their third title in six years in June.
There was a clear ovation for Kane again when his name was announced for assisting on an Andrew Desjardins goal during a scrimmage. It was the only point he had on the day. Hockey was the talking point today after Thursday's "I appreciate your question" press conference that made headlines across North America.
"That's the first time I've been on the ice in a while," Kane said. "It's good to get back on the ice. I was a little rusty at first and even throughout the day. It's one of those things you want to get better every day, keep pushing until that Oct. 7 date and try to peak then.
"Once you get out there, I think it is. You kind of get back into your element and enjoy playing hockey. Especially just being around your teammates on the bench joking around, having some laughs. It was good to get out there and do that."
"It's great. I think it's awesome," said captain Jonathan Toews. "Like we said yesterday, we're not going to get into the details of all that stuff and for now we're excited about hockey. It's great to get that reception, not only for 'Kaner' but for all the guys on the ice. All the fans were looking forward to watching some hockey again."
Toews said Kane looked completely normal during his first appearance with the team.
"He's one of those guys who can be off the ice for a while and then when he goes out there it's easy for him," Toews said. "For the rest of us, there's some clumsiness, missteps in passes, whatever. We expect that from him. We're all trying to get to that level."
"He was fine, he looked all right, had the puck a lot," said coach Joel Quenneville. "When he has the puck on his stick, a lot of good things happen. I thought he was fine."
Kane said he had nothing further to add on the investigation over what he said -- or didn't say -- on Thursday. He said he spent last night having dinner with teammates and watching televised football.
"Just talked about life in itself with my teammates," he said. "It was good to just talk to them about everything that's not included in this situation. It was fun doing that, fun to be around my teammates and I'm extremely happy to be here. It was a good first day."
Here's a look at Kane's entrance.