Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kane comes under fire

Coach Noel rips his effort, reduces ice time for young star

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BOSTON -- For the second straight week, Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel has called out a player with whom he was displeased.

The target for Noel's displeasure on Tuesday was left-winger Evander Kane, the team's leading goal-scorer and point-getter.

Early in the game, Noel parked Kane on the middle of the bench and barely used him until farther into the game.

Kane played four minutes, 33 seconds in the first, 6:19 in the second and then finished the game with 18:06, that after the team lost winger Tanner Glass to a facial injury in the first period.

"I'll let you be the judge of that," Noel said, asked about his 20-year-old third-year winger.

"I wasn't happy with the way he started the game. Are you going to play or are you not? Figure it out. So I'm not going to wait for the game to start. The game's started. I saw two or three shifts and I'd seen enough. Like, what do you want to do here?"

Last week, Noel singled out winger Eric Fehr for his lack of production. Fehr, who missed two months, including training camp, rehabbing from shoulder surgery, had more ice time on this road trip and finally produced his first goal of the season on Tuesday night.

Kane, who has 18 goals so far, gradually got back into the mix on Tuesday with a variety of linemates, including the fourth line. He did skate better later in the game but the Jets bench was also short and the game was clearly gone as the third period waned.

"If you want to be a key player on our team, if that's what you think you want to be, then get ready to play the game like everybody else," Noel said.

Kane also drew some close scrutiny and reduced ice time in Game No. 1 of the season, when Noel played him only 10:34 because of indifferent play. Kane's average ice time so far this season was 17:26 coming into Tuesday's game.

Tuesday's game was a first for both teams. Neither had ever played a game in which each side had a penalty shot.

Winnipeg's Chris Thorburn missed a penalty shot at 5:57 of the first period. His free chance was courtesy of a hack by Boston's Dennis Seidenberg on a breakaway.

"I was thinking shoot the whole time and then (Bruins goalie Tuukka) Rask was at the bottom of the circle so I didn't really have much net to shoot at," said Thorburn, who remains scoreless this season. "So I changed my decision to deke. I should have went five-hole looking at the video. It was wide open.

"He made a great save."

In the second period, with the Jets ahead 2-1, Tim Stapleton was called for a hook on the hands of Boston's Shawn Thornton, who had just escaped the penalty box. Penalties to Thornton and Andrew Ference had created a 28-second five-on-three for the Jets but when Toby Enstrom's point shot sailed wide on the far side, the puck went all the way around to the tough-guy winger.

The Jets and Stapleton objected loudly to the call, arguing that Stapleton only lifted Thornton's stick, but the Bruins winger made a nifty deke on this penalty shot and scored to tie the game.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2012 D3

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