I mean, this isn’t the first time Evander Kane and controversy have locked bumpers. Probably won’t be the last time, either. Seems to me this same thing happened just three months ago, almost to the day. You might recall that shortly after being a healthy scratch as punishment for an off-ice misdeed in advance of a match against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, a reporter asked Kane if he wanted out of Dodge.
He didn’t say yes. He didn’t say no.
“I’m here to answer hockey questions,” he replied.
That was Evander being Evander. Coy, evasive, arrogant, irreverent, petulant…a real smart-ass.
And so now we have Evander being Evander again. When a Team 1040 radio gab guy in Vancouver asked him Tuesday if he was looking for a new postal code, Kane thought it would be a swell idea to liven up summer with a bit of a brush fire.
“Evander,” asked Matt Sekeres, “do you want to play for the Winnipeg Jets anymore?”
“Well,” replied Kane, “I think I’m a Winnipeg Jet right now, and, you know, there’s been speculation and rumors the three years since I got there. So, you know, we’ll see what happens and we’ll carry on as if I’m a Winnipeg Jet.”
“There’s not a yes in there, and some Jets fans might say, ‘Why doesn’t he want to play for us?’ Or ‘Why isn’t he absolutely fully on board for playing for us?’ You’re shaking your finger at me.”
“I’m training hard and getting ready for this season, and last summer I didn’t have a full year of training due to some surgery I had, so I found it really important for me to start training early and get myself in the best shape possible for this season. So that’s my focus.”
Once again, he didn’t say yes. He didn’t say no.
That’s because life as a young National Hockey League rock star in small-market Winnipeg is a game of cat-and-mouse to Kane. Just call him Kitty Kane. Team ownership/management and the faithful in Jets Nation are the mouse. His joy toy, if you will.
Many have grown weary of his act. They see him as a boil on the Jets’ butt. Others point out that his multiple misteps are the product of youth. That they are victimless trespasses. That they are mole hills the media has turned into a mountain range. I’ve long been in the latter camp, although I’ve never subscribed to the “he’s just a kid” argument. Kane isn’t a kid. He turns 23 next month.
Kane plays the fool, but he isn’t a fool. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kane told Sekeres to ask the question. I believe he truly enjoys yanking everyone’s chain. He craves the attention. It’s his mother’s milk.
Think about it. He goes on a Vancouver radio show and some guy asks him if he wants out of Winnipeg. The simple answer is “No.” End of story. But not Kane. That would be too boring and our Evander doesn’t do boring. It’s so much more fun to rattle cages and tip cows. That’s why he’ll favorite a tweet proposing a trade to Philadelphia. Tee hee. That’s why he delivers yes-no-maybe-so answers to queries about his shelf life as a member of the Jets. Tee hee again.
It’s how he gets his jollies. It’s his play time.
I could be wrong, mind you. Perhaps Kane really does desire a new mailing address for one very good reason—he wants to win.
Let’s push aside punkish pranks and talk in hockey terms. Above all, professional athletes want to succeed. Unfortunately, Kane plays for a general manager, Kevin Cheveldayoff, who is all about the future. That is, Chevy collects draft choices like kids collect bubblegum cards, and he does nothing to improve the present-day product. In the meantime, Kane sees other teams in the Central Division making significant adjustments to their rosters and realizes there will be no playoff hockey in River City next spring. And numerous springs to follow. He’s tired of all the losing. He wants to grow a playoff beard. The only way to achieve that goal is a trade.
So, he acts like a damn fool to try and force Cheveldayoff’s hand.
I don’t think that’s it, though. I think Evander Kane is just a smart-ass who sits at the back of the classroom and tosses spit balls at the teacher. Big joke. Big reaction. Much attention. That’s what he’s all about.
After all, if it is was serious stuff, wouldn’t Chevy do something about it? I mean,we all recognize the GM as a man of action, right?
So, like I said at the top, there’s nothing to see here. Let’s just move along.
(FOOTNOTE: I invite your comments. I do not, however, welcome some of your comments. If you believe what I’ve written is the natterings of a nincompoop and belongs at the bottom of a bird cage, let ‘er rip. Tell me why. I enjoy healthy debate. That can be fun. If, on the other hand, your idea of a critique is to attack/insult me about my gender or sexual orientation, then we aren’t going to get along. Let’s put it this way: It is permissible to question the size of my IQ, but not the size of my boobs. Bottom line: I don’t get paid to write this crap, so play nice, kids.)