Evander who?

Kane's return has Jets shrugging shoulders

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However hard he has tried, Evander Kane hasn’t managed to provoke much of a reaction from his former teammates on the Winnipeg Jets.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/01/2016 (2513 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

However hard he has tried, Evander Kane hasn’t managed to provoke much of a reaction from his former teammates on the Winnipeg Jets.

It was the same to mark Kane’s first appearance at the MTS Centre since February’s major trade. The Jets meet the Buffalo Sabres today at 2 p.m.

After Saturday’s practice downtown, the Jets dressing room was saturated with Kane questions, including the matter of the left-winger saying last year — jokingly or not, we can’t be sure and he wouldn’t say Saturday — he wouldn’t mind fighting former teammates Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler.

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Evander Kane heads onto the ice at the MTS Centre for practice Saturday.

“There’s no chance of that happening tomorrow,” Wheeler said. “I’m here to help my team win a hockey game and that doesn’t fall under that criteria. That’s his prerogative. He can do it however he wants. I can’t change the way he feels. If he wants to fight, I’m sure there are guys in here that would love to, but that ain’t going to be me.”

The question was repeated to Wheeler later in his interview.

“He’s always been pretty good at causing a reaction. I’ve answered that question already,” he said. “I don’t anticipate doing that tomorrow. I’ll dictate when my gloves come off.”

Ladd shrugged off the matter, also declining comment on the incident that may have been the point of no return — February in Vancouver when Kane arrived for a team meeting in a track suit, which was later dumped in a cold tub by Dustin Byfuglien.

“I’m still not talking about it,” Ladd said.

The Jets captain was asked if he was surprised to learn Kane said he had repeatedly asked for a trade.

“I don’t think anyone was aware of it,” he said. “To me, he showed up and worked and was a part of what we were trying to do.

“Maybe a little surprised because he signed a long-term deal to be here. If he wasn’t happy, you’d think he would have shied away from signing long term.”

Following suit, Byfuglien wasn’t biting either.

“It’s just like any other game, any other teammate that’s been traded,” Byfuglien said. “It’s business. We go and do our job.

“How will he be? That’s a question for him. I’ll take it as another game.”

Byfuglien was asked if he had any reaction to how the fans might be upping the ante for today’s game.

“They (fans) can do whatever they want,” he said. “I’ll be putting on my jersey and doing my job.

“We don’t even notice it. We focus on our jobs and what fans do, fans do.”

Jets coach Paul Maurice said he’s thankful there’s likely to be extra buzz in the building for the game against the Sabres.

“It will be a positive for us,” Maurice said, his team just finished with a season-long five-game road trip. “You worry about that game coming back off an extended road trip, the energy level. I think it’s going to be built into this game when the puck drops. And there won’t be anything overly unusual five minutes into the game. I think it settles right into a hockey game.

“They’ve played well. They did in Chicago, but they’re not winning, so that keeps them unhappy. We’ve got quite a task ahead of us and we’ll be real focused on that.

“There will be some energy and a bit of a buzz above the ice surface. People will be excited, but the puck will drop and the game will get played.”

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Saturday, January 9, 2016 2:19 PM CST: Replaces photo.

Updated on Saturday, January 9, 2016 9:29 PM CST: Updated story.

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