Patrick Kane unsure what emotions will be like amid United Center return: ‘I guess you never know'

Patrick Kane unsure what emotions will be like amid United Center return: ‘I guess you never know' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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For the first time as a visitor, Chicago Blackhawks franchise icon Patrick Kane is returning to the United Center on Sunday when the Detroit Red Wings take on his former team. And it will be strange for everyone.

"Someone was telling me yesterday not to just keep walking to the Blackhawks room, you've got to turn right at some point to go to the visitor’s room," Kane joked. "It'll be a little bit different. I’ve never really been in that room except for like one or two days in training camp when they would have the red and white scrimmage."

On Sunday morning at Detroit's team hotel, Kane spoke to the media about being back in Chicago and what his nerves might be like going into the night, which will include a Chris Chelios jersey retirement ceremony.

"When you fly back into the city, drive back downtown, see the skyline and everything like that, it hits home a little bit more," Kane said. "I'm sure it'll probably all come back to me a little bit tonight, especially with everything going on with the Chelios jersey retirement and me being my first game back and just kind of take it all in, enjoy it and just enjoy the whole night."

Kane downplayed his nerves but admitted that could change over the course of the day.

"I don't know if I'm nervous," Kane said. "I'm just more looking forward to everything and excited about the whole night in general. I keep thinking I'm not going to have too much emotion but I guess you never know how those things go down. Just kind of looking forward to see how everything unfolds."

Kane is arguably the greatest player in Blackhawks history, guiding the franchise to three Stanley Cups during his tenure and giving the fans so many electric moments on the ice. He sure earned the Showtime nickname.

It's impossible to summarize Kane's 16 years in Chicago, but he tried reflecting on his time with the Blackhawks and in this city.

"I’m so blessed just being drafted, and I can remember the first day, coming into Chicago I was just overwhelmed with the traffic and the city and everything and you’re like, ‘I’m not going to be able to do this, I’m from a little town like Buffalo and never had to deal with anything like this," Kane laughed. "And I was so wrong about that. It’s such an amazing sports town, amazing city.

"I appreciate the fans and all the people in the city as much as you possibly can. The support they gave me from the day I came in, just cheering me on, not only through good times but some tough times as well. They always seemed to be supporting me, which I definitely appreciated."

The last time Blackhawks fans saw Kane at the United Center was when he had that near buzzer-beater win in overtime against Vegas. He was traded shortly after that and the city of Chicago never got a chance to say thank you or give him a proper sendoff.

Kane is probably looking forward to Sunday just as much as the fans.

"That was my last home game and then we were on the road for a few and I played in Dallas, then we were playing San Jose and I was just kind of getting ready for just playing another game and New York was able to speed up the process on a trade, so I had to make a decision within like 24 hours if I wanted to go or not and decided to take on the challenge," Kane said. "It was all really quick.

"I think everyone has different situations, whether [it's] free agency or trade or middle of the season and that was kind of something a little bit different so it'll be nice to be back and kind of just share the moment with everyone."

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