By Matt Blittner, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
Enough’s enough. It’s time for the NHL to take action and send Evander Kane home for good.
Late Monday afternoon, the NHL announced it had suspended Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21-games — without pay — as punishment for providing a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. This is just the latest in a long line of troubling behavior by Kane.
His suspension runs until the Sharks visit the Devils on November 30th.
While investigating this matter, the NHL also looked into allegations made by Kane’s estranged Wife, Deanna, that he committed domestic assaults against her. Those claims were unable to be substantiated as Kane’s soon-to-be-Ex-Wife fell to oh-for-two against him this off-season.
First were the claims that Kane bet on his own games. Then came the domestic assault allegations. Both were unable to be verified by investigators.
What was verified is that Kane has been a problem off the ice everywhere he’s played.
While playing for the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets there were a number of incidents between Kane and his teammates that drew the ire of many within the organization. Then came the sexual assault allegations during his time in Buffalo, as well as an altercation at a Buffalo bar with a Bouncer.
Now, with the Sharks, there have been gambling and domestic violence claims, along with his fake COVID-19 vaccination card.
Sure, most of those claims ended up either being settled outside of court or being dismissed by a Judge, but they certainly point to a larger problem; one, by the way, that multiple sources around the league find unsurprising.
According to one source, Kane showed behavioral problems all the way back to his early teen years when Scouts first started to take note of the talented winger. And that same source points to each of Kane’s predicaments as a pattern of his continued problematic behavior.
Another source was unsurprised to find out Kane provided a false COVID-19 vaccine card, saying it was only a matter of time before Kane was unable to push his problems aside. “He’s gotten away with a lot,” said the source.
So, I ask, with as checkered a history as Kane has, will a 21-game suspension really cure him of his issues, or will harsher punishment be needed?
Several people around the league told me that if it was up to them, the suspension would be a lot longer. One person even claimed that Kane’s latest infraction should result in the Sharks terminating his contract. Although, that seems like a stretch at the moment as there is likely to be a CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) issue with such a move.
However, one has to wonder if the NHLPA would even go to bat for Kane should the situation escalate that far. The resounding answer seems to be, NO. One source claimed Kane is, “a man on a deserted island. He doesn’t have any allies.”
While I don’t doubt Kane has made many enemies across the league, I find it hard to believe the NHLPA wouldn’t at least put up a half-hearted fight in his defense if it came down to it.
If the NHLPA and NHL were serious about bettering the game these questions wouldn’t be asked, because the simple answer would be to toss Kane out. That’s highly unlikely to happen, but perhaps it should.
A FOND FAREWELL
When I awoke Monday morning it was to a notification that long-time Rangers beat writer, Rick Carpiniello (most recently of The Athletic) had announced his retirement; effective November 1st.
There’s no doubt he was a big influence on my career and always provided a friendly ear at the rink. And for that I’ll always be thankful. Rick, here’s to a wonderful career and a well deserved retirement! Thank you for all that you’ve done!