Evander Kane is back on the ice after a tumultuous two months.
Kane, who has made news off the ice for all the wrong reasons, was placed on waivers this past weekend by the San Jose Sharks. He cleared waivers and was assigned to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.
After his first practice in which he was on a line with Kyle Topping and Brinson Pasichnuk, two guys who haven’t received much playing time since being recalled from the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL.
The big question was when and if Kane gets back to playing in the NHL, whether with the Sharks or another team if he were to be traded. “I think we have a good plan in place,” said Kane when asked if he would like to continue playing for the Sharks. “I’m not going to get into that too much, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Throughout the entire press conference, Kane seemed very humble and happy to have the opportunity to get back on the ice and being able to participate in a team environment practicing and being in the locker room.
He even answered questions from one of the members of the media (who will remain nameless) who he had issues with during last season and refused to answer questions from that member of the media.
“I came into today the same person, same teammate, same player that I was, and everything went great,” Kane said.
I asked Kane if he had done any soul searching during the whole process when the gambling and domestic violence allegations were made against him up until he had cleared waivers and knew he was being assigned to the ‘Cuda.
“There’s been a lot of different changes for me in my life, maybe it doesn’t appear that way. At the end of the day, there’s hockey, there’s life and you have to make certain decisions. Being a public figure, obviously you get a little more attention than other people so. Obviously, there’s been some tough things for me personally, but I think I’m really in a good spot now,” said Kane.
Reports surfaced during the off season that some of the Sharks players didn’t want Kane to come back to the team over frustration from Kane allegedly being late to practices and games. It’s the type of behavior that can turn a team’s chemistry from good to toxic with losing being the end game.
It’s going to be very tough to trade Kane to another team, with his $7 million cap hit, even though the Sharks have reportedly agreed to retain half of his salary in order to help facilitate a trade. The question is, even with the Sharks taking on half for the remainder of his contract, does a team want to take a risk on a guy whose behavior has been detrimental in every stop on his NHL career and be willing to take a chance on Kane not disrupting a team’s chemistry?
I believe the best thing is for the Sharks to keep Kane on their roster. The team needs a quality scorer and tough guy that Kane has built during his career. Coming off his best season last year in just 56 games, the Sharks can’t rely on just Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier to be responsible for the Sharks offense.
Which begs the question, how can Kane win over the Sharks locker room? How can he get them to forgive everything that has happened in this past calendar year and regain their trust in him? Words can only do so much, as actions have always spoken louder and have had more of an impact than any heartfelt apology.
If Kane is a changed man as he proclaimed to be on Tuesday afternoon, then I believe he deserves a chance to prove to Sharks management, to the players and coaching staff that he can be the teammate they can rely on to not just scores goal but to be a leader of a young team that is going to need all the help they can get if they want to end their two year draught to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
If Kane has burned a bridge with the Sharks that the team feels is beyond repair (lying about your vaccination status was damaging enough) then it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the embattled forward.
Stay tuned. We’re just getting warmed up here.
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Right Winger Kevin Labanc after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.
Goaltender James Reimer after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.
Head coach David Quinn after the Sharks 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on November 17, 2022.