TAMPA, Fla. -- Three times in six years Patrick Kane has played in the Stanley Cup final. And as a marquee man. But he's not taking another chance at hockey's Holy Grail for granted. The Chicago Blackhawks have a huge test to pass against the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Game One set here for Wednesday night.
"It's exciting," the pride of South Buffalo said Tuesday on Media Day in Amalie Arena. "You've been through it a couple times before and we've been fortunate to win it both times but after those times and even after last year, you start to wonder when the next time you'll be back. So it's cool to be here in Tampa."
Kane recovered amazingly well from the broken clavicle he suffered in February that was supposed to keep him out until the Western Conference final -- if the Hawks even survived that long without him. He was back from the opening bell of the playoffs and even skated hard in the morning on April 3 when the Hawks visited the Sabres.
"I was trying to show the coaches that I was ready to play that night but they wouldn't let me play in Buffalo," he said sheepishly. "I was probably still not ready at that point but I remember skating that morning and feeling pretty good. Where I was as far as conditioning, skating and shooting the puck, you just have to get that clearance for contact. "
This is a different final for Kane. It's the first one the Blackhawks have opened on the road and it's against a free-wheeling team, not a group full of grinders like the 2010 Flyers or 2013 Bruins.
"They're a young team and I can remember in 2010 when we were pretty young too," Kane said of the Lightning. "I think I made a comment back then that we were too young and stupid to realize the magnitude of the situation we're in. That could go for them too. they've had a great playoff, they've had some big games. They have wins in Game Sevens, a lot of players have stepped up."
Kane has six goals and seven assists in his 12 previous games in the Cup final and is thrilled to be meeting a similarly fast-skating club.
"It's great for the game that the two teams in the final are this much focused on being offensive, have this amount of skill, have this amount of high-quality offensive players," he said. "It's good for the game and makes the game more exciting when you see teams like this win.
As for potentially winning the Cup three times, Kane said, "It would be special. When you have that opportunity right now in front of you, you want to take advantage of it. These are moments you don't want to let slip away."