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The Winnipeg Jets announced on Thursday that Evander Kane, the star winger who whose healthy scratch revealed an unfolding drama among teammates, will be placed on injured reserve retroactive to Monday.
The issue, according to Sportsnet, could be a shoulder injury he’s played through this season. The real issue, of course, is that he’d choose this moment to potentially shut down for the season and go under the knife.
To reset the scene: Kane showed up to a team meeting in Vancouver in a track suit on Tuesday, which was a violation of the team’s dress code. Renaud Levoie of TVA reported that Kane believed the meeting was at the team hotel rather than the arena, and didn’t have time to change.
(And if you think that sounds like spin from Newport Sports, you’re probably correct.)
After the meeting, Kane either worked out or went to the trainers’ office, shedding his track suit. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, teammate Dustin Byfuglien threw Kane’s clothes into a cold tub “to send a message to his teammate.”
That prompted Kane to leave the rink.
He didn’t travel on the team’s bus to the arena for a pregame meeting. Team officials were unable to get him on the phone for most of the day, and when they did, a half-hour before the game, he told them he would not be playing in his hometown against the Vancouver Canucks. So he was a healthy scratch.
Kane met with team doctors on Thursday, missing practice (and since he missed practice, no media availability). Then on Thursday night, he was officially placed on injured reserve, with official word on surgery from coach Paul Maurice to come on Friday.
On Thursday, Kane’s teammate spoke about the healthy scratch, before the rest of the incident came to light. And, well, it’s pretty easy to read between the lines.
"There’s a standard that everybody needs to live up to," said Blake Wheeler. "We’re professionals. We make a lot of money. That’s the code we live by. If you don’t like it then there’s other places you can go. This is the way we do things."
Byfuglien also spoke about Kane.
"I’m sure you have rules in your household," he said, via the Free Press. "And if the kids don’t stick to it, you’ve got to discipline them. It is what it is."
Here’s Buff. Take a drink every time he says “job to do.”
On having to move to forward: “Obviously, not the ideal spot I want to be in right now. But we’re a team. And we needed a guy to fill that spot and I’m the lucky guy. It is what it is. I’ve got a job to do, and come to the rink to work every day.
“My job is to play hockey and as long as I have stall in the NHL I don’t care.”
On the impact of Kane being out of the lineup: “Our team has been good throughout the year. We’re learning. We’re playing together. We need to come together a little closer.”
On winning despite his absence: “It just goes to show … how one guy goes out, if four or five guys go out, we’ve got a job to do.”
Now, the rest of the NHL knows the truth. Kane is injured, and, in a moment of anger, reacted in the worst way possible. The easiest option is probably Kane gets surgery, sits out the year and gets traded afterwards. But, as someone who made a lifetime of bad decisions in my early 20s, I wouldn’t do that if I was Kane. I’d apologize and do whatever I can to make amends.
But, if he does want to play, Cheveldayoff and Maurice have a choice to make. Can the relationship be repaired? What will the effect be on the team? Look at the quotes after the loss in Vancouver: “It’s the first good game we’ve played since the break,” Maurice said. “It’s a step in the right direction,” according to Bryan Little.
Could closing the book on Kane turn the Jets recent fortunes around?