Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane proud of his performance this season in light of still-nagging injury

“I need to be at another level coming into next year,” Kane said Tuesday. “That starts with just having a good summer and getting 100% healthy.”

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Patrick Kane handles the puck.

Patrick Kane has scored 92 points this season despite not feeling 100% healthy.

AP Photo/David Becker

Patrick Kane has looked so much like his usual self this season — and has produced so much like it, too — that his still-undisclosed nagging injury, once a topic of major concern, has been practically forgotten.

That is, it has been practically forgotten by everyone else. Kane himself, while racking up 92 points through 76 games in the third-highest scoring season of his career, has been reminded of it by pain and discomfort every night.

“I’m proud of myself in some ways, for sure, [about] the way this season went and the way I was able to perform,” Kane said Tuesday. “But I still think I need to be at another level coming into next year. That starts with just having a good summer and getting 100% healthy. . . . I really want to make sure my body’s feeling good and that I’m able to do the stuff that I want to [do].”

Kane has been quietly inhibited healthwise all year.

“I was able to get myself ready pretty much for every game, and I definitely give the training staff a lot of credit for that, but it probably wasn’t where I needed it to be,” he said. “There are certain things on the ice that maybe you feel limited with.”

Kane has been alluding to his injury for more than a year now — it seemed to be more visibly affecting him last spring, during the latter half of the 2021 season — without disclosing many details. He admitted Tuesday there are some procedures available for his issue, but he’s not considering any at the moment.

While rehabbing the injury this summer, Kane also expects to meet “more than one” time with general manager Kyle Davidson to “talk about certain things.” He’ll certainly want to get a clearer sense of Davidson’s rebuilding plans and how he may or may not fit in.

For now, though, Kane is still talking — as he has all season —as if he expects to stay in Chicago. He said he “really, truly believes” that there are “parts of our team that can come back next year, surprise some people and win a lot of hockey games.”

Davidson might inject in him a dose of reality this summer about what the Hawks’ rebuild will entail, but Kane is looking toward the Kings’ and Rangers’ examples to stay optimistic.

“You can win and still be in a rebuild,” he said. “There are teams that have accelerated that. You look at L.A. — they had some young guys that came in and maybe exceeded some of maybe their front-office expectations, and all of a sudden, they’re in a spot where they can sign guys like [Phillip] Danault and trade for [Viktor] Arvidsson and they’re a better team.

“[It’s the] same thing with the Rangers, right? They put out that memo a couple of years ago that they’re rebuilding, and all of a sudden, they’re one of the best teams in the league a couple of years later. Obviously, [when] you bring a guy in like [Artemi] Panarin, that helps. Or [when] a guy like [Igor] Shesterkin . . . comes to the forefront. You need those young guys obviously to take next steps, but it could be done quicker than maybe some people think.”

Kane, always a believer in himself, thinks he could boost that youth-development process.

Alex DeBrincat’s continued presence could, too. Kane went out of his way Tuesday to make it clear DeBrincat’s fate will significantly affect his fate.

“If [Alex is] here and if he’s a big piece, then that makes it easier for me, too,” he said. “Because I’m playing with him every day and he’s such a good player and it makes it fun to be out there with him. We’ll see how it all shakes out.”

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