Why did Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice make Evander Kane a healthy scratch against Toronto on Saturday night? Well, to help run him out of town, of course; but was there a more practical and specific reason?
“The player’s individual play, other players’ play — somebody else takes their job for that night... adherence to all policies of the hockey club,” Maurice said, via the Winnipeg Sun. “This situation with Evander Kane has been addressed three times. He’s not the only one. I have dealt with it directly and clearly with the team and player.”
So reading between the lines there would appear to be some violation of a “policy of the hockey club” at play here. Maybe the Jets frown about civil suits being filed against their players or something.
Maybe Kane could enlighten us to why he was scratched or what policy he may or may not have violated. The assembled media asked; Kane … well, dodged their questions like he was in Temple Run and they were giant tree roots:
Was there a specific message to take from the scratch?
“No, not a specific message. … I don’t know what message you want me to say.”
But was there a specific reason?
“Were you not just here for that interview?”
Another answer that didn’t make the cut:
Evander Kane asked if he wanted to be traded? "I'm here to answer hockey questions, in terms of the game tonight." #NHLJets
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeSunSports) April 7, 2014
It’s not really a matter of “if” Kane’s traded this offseason but “where?” It’s beyond time for this divorce. Beyond time for the Jets to flip him for assets that can help turn this roster into something playoff worthy; beyond time for Kane to go somewhere else, start fresh and not be the muse of criticism for half the hockey media in the market.
The reason Evander Kane was scratched Saturday will remain a mystery for a while but the response of his teammates to the discipline laid down by coach Paul Maurice was as evident as the absence of the man who calls himself the Natural.
The Jets, with their season a failure and the playoffs gone, put forth one of their best efforts of the season against Toronto. They worked and sacrificed and bled like this was a real, live playoff game.
Look, there’s no discounting the boldness of Maurice’s move to scratch the team’s most talented player, but it’s a Hockey Night In Canada game. In Toronto. With a chance to potentially keep the Leafs out of the playoffs. Ya think maybe that played a part in their playoff-like motivation for that one?
(Not to mention the Jets previously beat the Leafs 5-4 in overtime earlier this season.)
Kane’s going to go to another team and either become Tyler Seguin Part Deux or a guy whose immaturity puts him in another coach’s doghouse. All we know is that he’ll never be the former in Winnipeg, only the latter.