Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kane eager to get back at 'er

Jets forward healed, hoping to help team gain playoff position

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It's a monument to just how much action Evander Kane has missed lately due to injury that Jets head coach Paul Maurice had to scratch his head Thursday when he was asked what a healthy Kane would mean to the Jets heading into the final 22 games of the regular season.

"I'd like to give you a better answer but I've only seen him play four games, other than on TV," Maurice said of Kane, who's been out of the lineup four different times this season and missed a total of 18 games.

'This year's been tough. It hasn't gone injury-wise the way I wanted it to. But it's a great opportunity for me to finish the season strong and get into the playoffs...'

-- Evander Kane

"He has some skills and abilities that few players possess and we also have reason to believe that will continue to develop, that we'll see more as he gets stronger... He's going to make you better."

Kane said a 10-day Olympic break has allowed his infected hand, the result of a fight with the Tampa Bay Lightning's Eric Brewer on Jan. 7, to fully heal and he's hoping a fresh start will allow him to press the reset button on a 2013-14 season that has thus far been an exercise in frustration.

"This year's been tough," said Kane, who has potted 15 goals and 14 assists in 42 games. "It hasn't gone injury-wise the way I wanted it to. But it's a great opportunity for me to finish the season strong and get into the playoffs...

"It's frustrating. And it's more frustrating just watching the games. You're not around the rink every day and probably just going up to the stands or sitting at home instead of going on the road. That's probably the most frustrating part. But I'm fighting to get back in it. I'm looking at the future and moving forward.

"It's a fresh start for our whole team really. We've put ourselves in a good position... And I think it's an opportunity for myself to come back and help out even more and make this team even better than it was playing, which is almost hard to do."

Kane doesn't have a long history of injuries and he's as puzzled as everyone else by the amount of time he's spent in sick bay this year.

"It's weird. I played all 48 games last year and was the ironman for half a (strike-shortened) season. And my first year, I missed 18 games but it was all from one injury, I broke my foot. But aside from that, it's just been a couple games here or there."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 21, 2014 C5

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