I've tried to stay away from the Evander Kane stuff as much as possible. We're entering what I like to call "silly season" where rumors fly around like hot cakes because the trade deadline is right around the corner.
The Kane situation has started taking some strange twists and turns, however, and I think it's at least reasonable to suspect he might be moved -- be it the trade deadline or this summer.
Here is the story as we know it: Kane was a healthy scratch in Winnipeg's OT loss last Tuesday due to a "coaches decision." The Winnipeg media -- who have been more than happy to jump all over Kane and his "antics" for the past couple of years -- speculated about how this was another incident in the Kane saga and how this might be the beginning of the end of Kane and Winnipeg (again).
On Wednesday it leaked out Kane was scratched because he violated the team's dress code, coming to work in a track suit. The national media had a field day, since the incident seemed like it was far too minor to cause the Jets to actually sit Kane for a game and continue to put pressure on the already strained relationship between the two sides.
Well, on Thursday it became evident there was more than that. Here's an except on the story from Sports Net:
Kane wore a track suit when the Jets players gathered that morning - a violation of team policy. 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.
That was the last the Winnipeg players saw of Kane until the team's charter flight home.
The story has continued to evolve, now indicating there have been previous incidents between Kane and teammates. Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press went a step further to insinuate there might actually be bulling going on in the Jets' locker room:
Let's review: Kane shows up for a team meeting in sweats. Byfuglien determines this isn't good enough and tosses his teammates gear into a shower or a cold tub. Kane's belongings are soaked and his pride and very likely his heart are damaged. He's been humiliated by one of his big brothers. By one of the men he's lived and worked with going on six years. Maybe there was a time when this manner of sending a message was accepted and worked, but no longer. It just made a mess.
The story goes on to point blame in a lot of directions. Captain Andrew Ladd and coach Paul Maurice took the brunt of Lawless' blame, since they're supposed to be the figures in the room making sure things don't reach this level. Lawless also went on to say the following:
But at some point in time Tuesday when this was playing out, Maurice had to determine his influence was needed. He's lost a player. A skilled and productive forward on a team that just can't afford to move on without a suitable replacement.
If Kane, as reported, refused to show up to the game because of the incident with his teammates I think it's pretty clear the marriage is coming to an end. The Jets putting Kane on retroactive IR doesn't help calm things down, either, since it's been reported Kane has an undisclosed injury that he's been playing through. Getting the injury fixed will apparently shut him down for the season.
All this has done is made Kane's availability come to light. Multiple insiders have already come out to claim the 23-year-old is available for trade. But timing is very important here, especially since Kane is injured. Are the Jets willing to deal with the headache for the rest of the year -- especially if he doesn't get the surgery -- while they're fighting for a playoff berth? Are they willing to pawn Kane of for 50-cents on the dollar just to get rid of this now national situation? Those are the biggest questions surrounding the Kane trade rumors right now. And there's enough blood in the water to have the sharks circling.
Should Glen Sather kick the tires on the maligned Jets' forward? Absolutely. Will he? If I were a betting man I would say he either has or will after this new development has come to light. Does it mean he's coming to New York? Maybe, but understand that 28 other general managers are also kicking the tires on Kane. Sure, being the Eastern Conference (this way Winnipeg wouldn't have to see him as much) is a benefit for the Rangers, but there are 16 teams in the East. And outside the Jets' division, there's no sure bet they won't move him anywhere.
Hell, under the circumstances the Jets might think about moving him closer to home (especially if they think he's a ticking time bomb) if they can maximize the return on him. For as much value as Kane holds in today's NHL -- a cost-controlled, young goal-scorer -- the team's handling of his various incidents have plummeted his value to an uncomfortable place.
A player like Kane should be a prized commodity in the NHL. Now he's an enormous question mark who is either bullied by teammates or a team cancer.
And still, there are 29 general managers who would at least take a lazy swing at him, so that should speak volumes about the way the Jets handled this situation from the get go. I would expect the Rangers to kick the tires if they haven't already. That doesn't, in any way, mean he's a lock for Broadway.
Because as much as he might not be long for Winnipeg, he seems to be the NHL's trade darling. Everyone wants a piece of him.
Aside from the team that has him.