Former Jet Evander Kane takes aim at team, city in magazine interview

Backhand shots fired


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Buffalo Sabres left-winger Evander Kane isn't finished with Winnipeg quite yet.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/10/2015 (2534 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Buffalo Sabres left-winger Evander Kane isn’t finished with Winnipeg quite yet.

Kane did a recent interview with The Hockey News writer Ken Campbell for the magazine’s Nov. 9 issue that was published Monday in which he aired numerous grievances with Winnipeg and its Jets.


Gary Wiepert / THE CANADIAN PRESS / The Associated Press Files Buffalo Sabres left winger Evander Kane (9).

The 24-year-old Vancouver native was traded to Buffalo by the Jets in February after playing three-plus seasons in the Manitoba capital. He’s now out four to six weeks after injuring his left knee Saturday night against New Jersey.

One of the other key elements to that trade, defenceman Zach Bogosian, is also on the Sabres’ injured list and hasn’t played this season.

One of Kane’s pointed complaints in the interview was the Jets — both his teammates and the organization — didn’t have his back.

“I was playing with a separated shoulder for a year and a half,” Kane told THN. “I had a broken ankle and a broken hand all at the same time. It wasn’t me telling myself I had a torn labrum. It was the team doctor on the Winnipeg Jets telling me, ‘You need surgery, and that’s the only way you’re going to get fixed. You have a broken ankle. You have a broken hand.’

“I’m sacrificing my body playing through pain, doing everything I can to help that team win with the feeling knowing guys don’t have my back. I feel the organization doesn’t have my back, and you feel unappreciated.”

The Free Press obtained a copy of the THN story just before Paul Maurice’s Monday press conference.

The Jets coach responded to Kane’s accusations about “not having his back,” and being unappreciated.

“I’m sorry he felt that way,” Maurice said. “I certainly appreciated him. He did play with a lot of injuries. But if you can find me a player I’ve ever coached where I came out and said, ‘Boy this guy’s playing with a broken ankle and I really appreciate it,’ I’ve never said that. I’d never talk about a guy’s injury.

“We’ve got guys that played with that. Evander played hurt. He had a torn labrum and played a year on it. That was his choice to have surgery or not. But he played on it.

“That’s a lot of pain. He played through an awful lot of pain and we really appreciated it. But I’m not coming out here and giving you a list of injuries of guys that are playing with them, because they’re playing with them.

“There’s no sense drawing targets on backs. I’m sorry he felt that way. I certainly appreciated him playing through those injuries.”

If Kane’s current injury prognosis is accurate, he’ll face his former teammates and Winnipeg fans Jan. 10, when the Sabres are scheduled to visit the MTS Centre.

Kane confirmed in the THN story what eventually came to light, but not before he was traded, that each summer he spent as a member of the Jets, he asked for a trade.

It’s worth noting that when asked about it while he was in Winnipeg, he talked around it or implied he was denying it.

“Something I asked for a long time finally came to fruition,” Kane said in the THN interview. “Yeah, I asked for a trade every off-season in Winnipeg.”

To be fair, the Jets also obfuscated on the trade-request matter back then.

In his story, Campbell also writes: “Truth is, though, Kane was never a good fit in Winnipeg, even in his first season there where he scored 30 goals… Every unpaid traffic ticket, every rumour about him skipping out on restaurant bills and having his girlfriend with him on the road, every time he posed for pictures with a wad of money attached to his ear, every time he shaved YMCMB into his scalp because a major cause célèbre in the league’s smallest market.”

Why was that?

Kane believes racism is relevant to his story, a charge he first levelled more than two years ago in an interview with THN.

“There are lots of guys I could point to that everybody knows publicly who have done a lot worse or been accused of doing a lot worse things than I have,” Kane said in the interview. “But they don’t look like me. They don’t look like me.

“Jealousy is a disease. It really is.”

On the race question, Campbell made a broad, combined reference to both the hockey world and Winnipeg “where guys like Thomas Steen are heroes, and it’s a cauldron of narrow attitudes that Kane found a little difficult to handle.”

“I just didn’t feel as though (the Jets) had my back at all,” Kane said. “It would have been so simple to just squash it and put it to bed. It just became kind of a big deal.

“Common sense would dictate that I can afford a bill at a restaurant no matter what it is. There’d be no reason for me to do that. If you just default to your common sense, I think at the end of the day you’ll realize how ridiculous, how silly and how moronic it really sounded.”

The Jets, through GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, declined to comment on the THN story. Monday, apart from Maurice’s comment, the Jets said nobody had anything else to say in response to Kane’s complaints.

THN’s story also includes much about Kane’s new start in Buffalo and how his outgoing personality will fit there.


Updated on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 7:08 AM CDT: Updated from paper feed.

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