Bryan Bickell knows all about what it's like to try to play while wearing a knee brace. He has been there, done that -- on each knee, to boot.
So when the news broke that Patrick Kane will continue wearing a brace throughout the postseason, who better to go to than Bickell?
"Absolutely, I've talked to five, six, seven guys that have them on our team, how they wear them, what feels best, what helps them out the most," Kane said. "It's something a lot of guys have to deal with. It's just my first time dealing with it, and you kind of learn as you go along."
If Bickell had just one piece of advice for Kane, what would it be? "The thing you want to do when you have a knee brace is get used to it and make it part of your element," he said.
"That's just what Kane has done, wearing it constantly during his extensive rehab and even sleeping with it on a few times.
"I was like I don't want to do that," Bickell continued, shaking his head at the thought. "I want to sleep."
Though Kane was a bit anxious about playing with the brace for the first time Thursday night, he sounded optimistic before Game 1 that the extra gear wouldn't be an impediment.
"It'll be different once you get into a game setting, game atmosphere," he said. "For me personally, I try to feel out how it feels, but overall it feels really good lately. I don't have any worries.
"I still feel like I'm skating the same."
No. 88 looked just fine when he skated in on a breakaway late in the first period and beat Ryan Miller to put the Hawks up 3-2.
Coach Joel Quenneville was even more definitive when asked if Kane will have any limitations because of the brace.
"None," he said. "He's skated very well. The first couple of days he was on the ice he looked like he had some jump in his stride. He's been on about 10 days since then. He seems like he's comfortable. We're happy with the way he's progressed."