The Blackhawks winger gained valuable insight into skating on larger ice surfaces, the kind that will be used in Sochi. At 100 feet wide — 15 feet more than the standard NHL rink — there is room to roam during the 12-team tournament that begins Wednesday.
"There's more time and space (and) that's obviously a clear advantage," Kane said. "A disadvantage is you can't really run around too much. You find yourself almost losing energy a lot quicker because of the bigger ice and going up and down. You almost have to conserve your energy a little … for the time you feel you really need it."
Added Hawks and Team Slovakia winger Marian Hossa: "It's more skating so you have to play smart, otherwise if you try to just chase the puck you're going to get tired pretty quick."
Positioning will play a key role — especially early on — as players make adjustments to the open ice.
"Personally, I just want to chase the puck, but sometimes it's so far away you're not going to get there in time," Team Canada and Hawks center Jonathan Toews said. "It's just about playing sound positionally and making sure that you're taking away lanes and that you're keeping the puck carriers out of dangerous scoring chances. So it'll be a different game, but I think before long we'll get used to it."
Additional space figures to open up lanes for skilled forwards — either around the edges or through the slot — as defensemen won't be able to maintain tight gaps by stepping up on opponents.
"Sometimes on the NHL ice surface you're used to being able to get on guys quick and take their time and space away," Hawks and Team Canada defenseman Duncan Keith said. "Here, there is so much ice surface. It just feels like you almost have to in certain situations back off and just let them kind of make a mistake with the puck rather than to pressure them to take it off."
Sweden's Niklas Hjalmarsson — Keith's teammate on the Hawks — is familiar with European rinks and said there are more opportunities to make plays from the back end.
"As a defenseman, you have so much more time with the puck," Hjalmarsson said. "So much more space out there. If you're a smart player, you can really take advantage of the ice. You can't just throw away the pucks like you do sometimes on a smaller ice surface. There's always a play to make somewhere. You can make way more plays on the big ice."
Whatever the position, the key is to keep moving so players are at top speed in any zone.
"You're going to have to move your feet out there," Canada and Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. "There's no standing around. The idea is to get to the net. It doesn't matter how wide or big the ice is, you have to get to that net."
Coaches have used the three days of practice since teams arrived in Sochi to detail to players the major differences.
"The big ice game is a squished-can game," Team Canada assistant coach Ken Hitchcock said. "The blue lines are closer so point shots are relevant. There's less time on the power play north and south. You have to be able to use the weak side of the ice. (In the NHL), we play in straight lines … with speed toward the north. The speed here is toward east-west. You can't play north-south in the (offensive) zone, it's too squished (and) guys are on top of you. You have to use the width of the ice to be effective."