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Media itching to know about scratch

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JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS archives
Evander Kane on Saturday squelched talk about his controversial scratch in Chicago, while Dustin Byfuglien (33)is still looking for his first goal after having one yanked away from him on Friday.

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JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS archives Evander Kane on Saturday squelched talk about his controversial scratch in Chicago, while Dustin Byfuglien (33)is still looking for his first goal after having one yanked away from him on Friday.

IT was the morning after the long day before and Evander Kane wanted nothing to do with a sequel to whether he was -- or, as Kane maintained this week, wasn't -- a "healthy scratch" in Chicago on Wednesday.

Kane, who found himself the centre of controversy on Friday when he publicly contradicted Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel about the reason he didn't play in Chicago, feigned ignorance after practice at the MTS Centre Saturday morning when he was asked if a strong personal performance in a 5-0 Jets win over Nashville Friday night resolved any lingering questions about the current state of his health.

"OK, yeah, is that a question?" Kane replied.

The same question was promptly rephrased for the Jets left-winger, but he still wanted nothing to do with answering it.

"I guess so. I don't know. I played the game last night to win and helped the team win. That was my mindset."

Kane had an assist, logged over 16 minutes of ice time and was plus-2 Friday night in a dominating win over the visiting Predators, but he had obviously decided long before he faced reporters Saturday morning he had no further interest in extending the discussion he fuelled on Friday with his continued insistence that he was healthy enough to play in Chicago.

With that mini-tempest now doused, Kane was asked to look ahead to this evening's game at the MTS Centre against a talented, but recently struggling, San Jose Sharks squad.

"They're a good team and for us, we're going to have to have another good start or we could be looking at the other side of that after the first period," said Kane, referencing the 4-0 lead the Jets built in the first period against Nashville on Friday.

"It's going to be a good challenge for us and a challenge to continue to play how we did the other night."

The Jets have struggled all season to put forth consistent efforts from game to game and will be trying against San Jose to do something they haven't done since the first week of the season -- win two games in a row.

Also on the to-do list tonight will be a goal for defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, who has notched a team-leading 11 assists in 18 games this season but is still looking for his first goal.

Byfuglien thought he had that elusive goal Friday night with a first-period marker against Nashville that was initially attributed to him, but the goal was taken away after the game and awarded to Jets forward Eric Tangradi, who scorers ruled had re-directed Byfuglien's point shot.

Byfuglien was asked Saturday if he'd now have to go looking for the monkey that he mimed pulling off his back and throwing into the crowd after the goal Friday night.

"No, it will still just be sitting there," said Byfuglien. "It ain't going nowhere."

Tangradi said he and Byfuglien chided each other Friday night about who should have rightfully been awarded the goal -- and Tangradi wasn't too sympathetic when the scorers took away the goal from Byfuglien.

"I can't really feel bad -- he has a pretty good resume," said Tangradi. "He'll be alright."

FLIGHT NOTES: Jets winger Blake Wheeler did not take part in practice Saturday morning, but head coach Claude Noel said it was just a maintenance day for Wheeler and he is expected to play tonight against the Sharks.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 10, 2013 B3

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