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Occasional punchup right up Kane's alley

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BACK with his teammates for the first time in more than a week, Jets left-winger Evander Kane was not apologetic for the hand injury that caused his absence.

Kane, who has missed four games, suffered a serious laceration on his right hand in a Jan. 7 fight with Tampa Bay defenceman Eric Brewer.

The altercation happened with 20 seconds left in a 4-2 defeat.

"I don't fight a lot," Kane said Sunday at the MTS Centre. "Fighting is a part of the game. It's a good part of the game. It's a necessary part of the game. You have to have it to control the game.

"Those type of things, they happen. He gave me a shot in the back... I'm not going to back down, let's put it that way."

On the matter of fisticuffs, Kane went even further when asked for his opinion about Saturday night's shenanigans in Vancouver between the Canucks and Calgary Flames.

"Entertaining," he answered. "Fun to watch.... probably funner to be part of."

Kane's right hand has improved enough he can participate fully with his team.

"A lot better than it has been," he declared. "Now I'm getting back in game shape."

Asked if he had a return date in mind, Kane said: "Yeah, I have an idea."

He wasn't sharing that date.

Where the speedy power forward and his 14 goals and 25 points will fit into the lineup under new head coach Paul Maurice isn't known.

It could be Kane will return to his place with rookie centre Mark Scheifele. Blake Wheeler has been on the right wing with Scheifele in the past week. Chris Thorburn has been on the left side, but was moved out for a time on Saturday in favour of Eric O'Dell.

When Kane is ready, the Jets won't have to make any roster moves, as today they have 22 active players, one under the 23 maximum.

The unknowns aside, Kane was pretty clear he likes the direction the Jets have gone in the last week.

"I think you have to have fun with what you're doing and obviously winning makes that easier," Kane said. "We've been playing some pretty good hockey since Paul came in and hopefully we can continue that.

"He really wants the defencemen to move the puck up quickly to the forwards so we can generate speed from our own end. That makes it a lot easier to come through the neutral zone. I like what I see and look forward to being a part of that."

Until Sunday, Kane had not done any interviews since the Jets made their coaching change, dismissing Claude Noel and assistant Perry Pearn.

"I think when you're losing consistently, it's something that needs to change," he said. "And I think when it does, no matter if you saw it coming or thought you did, it's always a surprise as to when or why.

"It was a tough day. I got to know Claude pretty good over three years and Perry over the last year and a bit, and both are really good guys. It was a tough, day, I think, for everybody."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 20, 2014 C3

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