There, he said it.

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This article was published 19/9/2014 (2562 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There, he said it.

"I'm happy to be a Winnipeg Jet right now and looking forward to camp," Evander Kane said Friday. "And looking forward to having a good start to the season. All things I've said before."

Evander Kane

CP

Evander Kane

And before you parse words, the question put to him asked if he was happy to be a Jet right now, so he answered as asked.

Does it make a difference?

Well, a happy Kane is surely better than other options.

And happy he is likely to be if head coach Paul Maurice follows through on an early indication to pair the power left-winger with centre Mark Scheifele and right-winger Blake Wheeler, the team's leading scorer last season.

"It's good," Kane said of the possible combination. "I've played with those guys before and look forward to continuing to build with them through camp and having a good start to the season with them."

He revealed that in the off-season, he did make overtures that he needed a regular centreman, something he has not enjoyed in three seasons with the Jets.

"Whether things are going good or going bad, just stick with it," Kane said. "I think we'll be given an opportunity and we'll look forward to it."

He added how eager he is to fit into the line, because Scheifele and Wheeler -- who, it should be noted, already have developed some fine chemistry together -- have speed, are good playmakers and are smart players.

"Scheifs looks really good," Kane added. "He looks a lot better than he did last year."

Kane was at times playful after the first on-ice day of camp on Friday, an indication the summer was good for him despite some level of controversy surrounding early-summer trade speculation and late-summer comments about leadership from Blake Wheeler at an NHL media event, then Kane's cryptic response on Twitter.

"We're a team and obviously every word gets hung on by you guys and I think the way he worded and my tweet back was a little misread," Kane said. "It was more of a joke, and it was exactly what he said and it was nice to see."

Kane was asked if he thinks he's misunderstood.

"It might be a misunderstanding or sometimes a lack of common sense, but I feel I'm a pretty simple and straightforward guy and I guess some things get misread," he said.

Does he work at playing reporters?

"It's entertainment for me, right?" he grinned.

He said he trained a little differently over the summer, didn't lift a lot of weights because of his wrist and back, trying to protect past problem areas. But he trained hard, he said, and didn't find the first day of camp taxing at all.

"It was easy," he beamed. "Yeah. It was fun. You've got to have a smile on your face for (conditioning skate)."

Even Maurice, who Thursday left no doubt Kane was one of the team's leaders and would play a big role with big minutes, didn't escape some of Kane's verbal gifts on Friday.

"I don't want to pump his tires too much," he said. "I don't want to look like the teacher's pet because I'm not. I actually like him as a coach and he brings a lot of experience to the table."

Earlier, he said Maurice has been good for the Jets.

"Just his demeanour, and the way he goes about things, he gets along with (me) well and I like the way he coaches," he said. "I think we're going to be a real aggressive team, using our attributes to our advantage."

And as a parting gift late in his interview, Kane wasn't shy about revealing -- or reconfirming -- one of his goals ahead.

"I said it at the draft, when I got drafted, that I could score 50 and I know I can score 50," Kane said. "Playing with the right guys and playing with those guys consistently, and obviously staying healthy, it's a big part of it, too. Sky's the limit for me and goals are high. In order to get this team over the hump, you have to get better every year."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

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