Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Evander doesn't mind the criticism -- if it's legit

'Sick and tired of it a bit' if slams are 'unwarranted'

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WINNIPEG Jets left-winger Evander Kane is the subject of an upcoming profile story in The Hockey News, and excerpts were released earlier this week.

The publication's March 4 issue will contain Kane's answer to a question about a double standard he may perceive -- that he might be treated differently were his skin white.

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"I think a good portion of it is because I'm black, and I'm not afraid to say that," Kane said for the story. "A lot of people pretend. People try to be politically correct, but you can see through that. But here's the thing, though: I don't feel like a victim and I don't want to be perceived as one. But do I think that's true? Absolutely."

After the Jets' practice at the MTS Centre Thursday, Kane was asked to clarify what he thought was the source of those comments.

"In terms of that quote, I'm definitely referring to social media and that sort of stuff," he said. "Nobody has ever, and I don't think anybody will ever come up directly to my face and say anything negative. It's more so on that (Twitter). Anybody can go on and have a look for themselves.

"Just different things that people can hide behind a computer and say what they want."

The larger focus of the story by Ken Campbell is Kane's first season-plus in Winnipeg and his emergence as a young NHL star.

The hot topic, though, is the criticism he has received. Kane said he's ready and willing to accept it if it's about hockey.

"No, in terms of hockey criticism, that's part of the job description," he said. "That comes with the territory. If you can't handle that, you've got some issues.

"I'm more than open to accept criticism in terms of my on-ice play, and if I'm responsible for anything off-ice, I'm more than willing to accept that as well.

"When it goes unwarranted, you kind of get sick and tired of it a little bit."

Kane, 21, has been a focal point for commentary more than once in his Winnipeg tenure.

In that context, he was asked about people in general maybe not understanding enough of his background.

"I don't know if it's that detailed, that deep," he said. "In terms of the money picture, the haircuts, I've said it before and I'll say it again, that if that's going to ruin your day, if that's going to upset you, cause you to lose sleep, I mean, it's really not a concern of mine.

"I don't go out and try to hurt other people in terms of my personal life. I think I'm a pretty good guy. I do what I can to help other people out."

He was quite sure he wouldn't be addressing most of these matters in larger cities. New York was mentioned.

"Probably not. They've got bigger things to talk about in New York," he said. "Look at the American markets, you know sports is an entertainment business.

"There's different things that can entertain people, but at the same time, it's just what I like to do. Whether it's a shiny suit or a new haircut or me coming with a money suit, we'll see what happens. It's just the way I am, and I'm not breaking any laws or doing anything illegal."

Is this a Winnipeg issue? he was asked.

"I don't know," he said. "It's a fishbowl. It's part of the job description, part of the territory. It is what it is."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Fact hed

Jets coach Claude Noel was asked Thursday if the questions about racially motivated comments directed towards left-winger Evander Kane was any distraction to the forward or the team.

His answer: "Evander's Evander. I don't have much to comment on those things. I don't even know the Twitter world. I know it for what it brings and shows up but I'm not in it, I don't read it and I don't even know how it works and I'd rather just keep it that way for myself.

"It's hard for me to comment on that world. All I know is that Evander is a good player for us. He can be a good player. He's very coachable. And I like him. He's a good part of our team and for me I'm trying to get him to play in the way that he's also trying to get himself to play.

"Those other things are things that have to get managed. Do I view them as a distraction to our team? I think our players handle things as well as they can."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 15, 2013 C3

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