Blackhawks' Patrick Kane on Game 1 return: 'It's exciting'

CHICAGO -- Seven weeks after having surgery to repair a fractured clavicle, Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane will play against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series on Wednesday.

"It's exciting," Kane said after practice Tuesday. "It's been a long 50 days here, so it's a credit to a lot of hard work from obviously the doctors and the trainers and just listening to them and trying to heal as fast as possible.

"I didn't really know what to expect to be honest with you. The whole time I was just taking it day by day. When I started feeling good, that's when I knew there was a chance I'd be back a little sooner."

Kane fractured his left clavicle in a game on Feb. 24, underwent surgery on Feb. 25 and was given a 12-week timetable to return. Wednesday will mark seven weeks since his surgery.

Blackhawks head team physician Dr. Michael Terry announced Tuesday that Kane had officially been cleared to return to game action.

"He looked good out there today, felt good, clearance medically and all systems go," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "So, it's great news, and we're happy to have him."

Kane was tied for the league lead in points prior to his injury and finished the regular season with 27 goals and 34 assists and was tied for fourth in the league with a 1.05 points-per-game average.

He was unsure what level he would be at when he takes the ice Wednesday.

"I don't know," said Kane, who continued his playoff tradition of cutting his hair into a mullet and shaving lines into the side of his hair. "That's something we'll see. I think I've been out for seven weeks, so I think it's important, especially in these practices here, try and get your pace up, try and make it feel like a game situation, make some good plays and try and think the game, too.

"That's kind of where it'll come into play, when I get my first couple of shifts, get the speed of the game back and try to be confident in my abilities, confident in myself. And try to help this team as best I can."

Kane was cleared for full contact in a team practice for the first time Monday since the injury and participated in his second practice on Tuesday.

He has missed one playoff game out of a possible 94 games during his eight-year career with the Blackhawks. He has 37 goals, including seven game-winning goals, and 54 assists in 93 career playoff games. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013.

The Blackhawks went 12-8-1 without Kane in the lineup in their final 21 regular-season games. They were held to less than two goals in nine of those games.