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Just gotta PLAY

Kane can't stand the waiting, off to KHL

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Evander KANE showed patience all summer long, contemplating options and offers from the Winnipeg Jets about a new contract until the very last second before the NHL lockout began.

Kane, however, says he's out of patience now, having signed Friday to play in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk.

"Nobody wants to not play," Kane said Friday. "I've been off since April: I had the world tournament but I haven't played hockey in a while.

"I was kind of getting impatient."

The 21-year-old from Vancouver, fresh off his 30-goal and plus-11 season -- both team bests for the Winnipeg Jets -- told the Free Press that his contract with Dinamo was also not that hastily arranged.

"It took a week or two to get that together," said Kane, who leaves today for Europe. "I had to look at the options, a few options, then make my decision."

A major part of the consideration for any NHL player is to obtain insurance on existing NHL contracts. The NHLPA has cautioned all its members to get such insurance because if a player is injured during lockout action and then the NHL restarts, his NHL team won't be paying him until he's healthy.

Kane declined to get into the details of his KHL deal or who's paying for the insurance, but did confirm he has arranged it and that yes, it was a "priority," given his new six-year, $31.5-million contract with the Jets.

His new NHL deal pays him $3 million in the coming NHL season and averages out at $5.25 million per year -- the cap hit -- over the life of the agreement.

Given those healthy numbers, it's likely that the insurance on Kane's new contract could run in the range of several hundred thousand dollars per month.

With the business part of his KHL deal done, the three-year NHLer said he's simply eager to start doing his thing -- skating and scoring.

"There's so much more time and space," Kane said. "If you can skate, you can use that to your advantage when you go over and play in Europe.

"I should say that I don't have any problems on NHL ice, and I would probably rather play on NHL ice, but right now it's just one of the (factors) on the ice that could go my way."

Kane's experience in the last three world championships for Canada have made the opportunity in the KHL easier to embrace, he said.

"The bottom line is that it's an opportunity to play hockey, it's a top-level league and probably the next best league outside the NHL and a lot of top-end players have gone over there or will go soon," he said. "So with the lockout started, I'm happy to go over and play against top-level competition."

This major step while the NHL is dark is indeed a reflection of what Kane sees in his labour crystal ball, for now.

"I think yeah, it's just the way things have gone and the position we've taken and the position the NHL's taken," he said.

"There's still a big gap to close and as much as I'd like to be optimistic, this is something you've got to be realistic about. I understand the possibility that we're probably going to miss games and not start on time.

"We could miss the whole season."

Kane, who said he could get into his first KHL game on Tuesday against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, will join a Minsk team that includes former Jets teammate Tim Stapleton. Dinamo is 10 games into its season, and is 4-6.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

more nhl coverage C4

 

Jets in Europe

 

Evander Kane, Dinamo Minsk (KHL)

Alexei Ponikarovsky, HC Donbass (KHL)

Nik Antropov, HC Barys (KHL)

Ondrej Pavelec, Liberec Bili Tigers, (Czech)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 29, 2012 C1

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