When Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice called Evander Kane’s scratch on Tuesday a “coach's decision,” it reignited controversy that seems to follow the 23-year old forward every few months.
Well, Chris Johnston of the Sportsnet added more fuel to the fire after he reported on Thursday that Kane skipped Winnipeg’s game against the Canucks after showing up to a morning meeting in a track suit.
However, multiple sources familiar with the situation have since indicated that Kane was not on the team’s bus to Rogers Arena and then missed a pre-game meeting. Repeated attempts to reach him were unsuccessful until approximately an hour before puck drop, when Kane answered his cellphone and said he wouldn’t be playing against the Canucks that night.
Oh, but it gets better. Dustin Byfuglien was apparently not pleased with Kane’s fashion choice that day and decided to do something about it.
Following a brief workout and stretch, Byfuglien is said to have thrown those clothes into the shower to send a message to his teammate, according to sources.
Kane was not at practice on Thursday and didn’t speak to the media as he was meeting with doctors, according to Maurice. The head coach added that the forward has been playing hurt all season, from an MCL sprain to broken bones to another ailment that will require off-season surgery, says TSN's Bob McKenzie.
Maurice added that he’s made no decision on whether he’d scratch Kane again if doctor’s give him the green light to play Friday night against Chicago.
As you’d expect, teams are calling Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to gauge Kane’s availability, and you can bet they’re listening. But how much does this incident damage any potential return? (That is if we assume Cheveldayoff pulls off his first NHL player for NHL player deal.)
The sharks have been circling for a while now and it appears as if Kane’s days in Winnipeg are coming to an end. The March 2 trade deadline is just over three weeks away and NHL teams will be pressing to acquire Kane in hopes of making him the final piece for a Stanley Cup run or adding him as a centerpiece of a rebuild.
For now, the saga drags on and we'll just sit and wait for the next flashpoint.
“Evander Kane’s a Winnipeg Jet,” said Maurice, closing out his availability on Thursday. “He’s one of us, and we’ll take care of it.”
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