Report: Evander Kane was scratched over sweat pants

In the wake of Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice making forward Evander Kane a healthy scratch for mysterious disciplinary reasons in his hometown on Tuesday night, the internet busily concocted all manner of insane rumours to explain what Kane had done to deserve his punishment.

As it turns out, we were all sweating the small stuff. We were all sweating sweat pants actually.

Kane was reportedly scratched for a dress code violation when he showed up for a midday team meeting in sweats rather than a suit, according to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press. They must have been the world’s most offensively tacky pair of Kappas, since they could threaten Kane’s future with the Jets.

So what’s next for Winnipeg and Kane? Maybe surgery to repair the lower-body issue that Kane has been gamely playing through for much of this season.

Lawless explains the particular mechanics of what’s going on behind the scenes:

How Kane takes this treatment will be the subtext of the next chapter. If he accepts he made a mistake and is willing to move forward, we’ll see him back in the lineup as early as Friday night. If he’s miffed, and decides he’d like to swat back at the organization, Kane does have a card to play. He can elect to shut it down and have surgery on an undisclosed injury.

Kane has been playing with this injury for much of this season and could force the decision to have it repaired.

If Kane or the Jets announce in the coming days he’s going under the knife, it will be evident the player and team are at odds. Surgery has been an option Kane has elected to forego to this point. He’s played with pain and been effective. Up until now, the expectation was he would conclude the season and have this ailment taken care of in the off-season.

Let’s take a step back though. We’re talking about sweat pants! Not being late to a flight, or a team function, not holding anyone up, but showing up to a meeting in the clothing equivalent of a Subway sandwich. 

I get that wearing sweat pants in public does indeed demonstrate a lack of respect, but it’s a lack of respect for oneself – not necessarily for ones teammates or organization. 

Obviously we don’t know the clubhouse rules, and it’s not like Kane was suspended without pay, or whatever. Maurice can wield his lineup card as he pleases. This does seem like an unduly harsh way to treat a talented 23-year-old whose been playing hard and hurt.

There’s more to this, also. The Jets are already reportedly looking to shore up their forward depth before the trade deadline. That’s for good reason, since depth guy and waiver fodder T.J. Galiardi is currently the club’s ninth most frequently used forward at even-strength and plays fewer than eight minutes at 5-on-5 per game on average. It’s within this context that the Jets are potentially set to lose a young forward who plays more even-strength minutes than any other forward on the team, has a 30 goal season on his resume, and provides a good deal of physical and offensive value. 

Considering the circumstances and the opportunity at hand – the opportunity to bring playoff hockey back to Winnipeg for the first time since 1993 – it strikes me as absurd to risk alienating a key piece of the Jets’ present and future over soft trousers.

  • Stewsquared

    Maurice has had the entire team buy in to his culture of a complete team mentality in his short time with the Jets. The guys are playing as a unit and fighting for each other like a family.

    You can’t have one guy come in with his Zubaz sweats (Google them if you’re under 30 years old) and have the coach just ignore it. Everyone has decided to drink the Maurice Kool-Aid and if the culture starts to crumble, we’re right back at square one and we might as well bring Coach Christmas back.

    The right call was made to have him sit. You make bad decisions, you face the consequences.

    I once wore sweatpants to a dance in grade six and was forced to watch all the action from the sidelines. That’s the way she goes. I learned this lesson at 11, Evander learns at 23.

  • @Stewsquared

    There’s too much money on the line and to much at stake – the playoffs! – to risk crippling your forward depth over culture in my view. And this violation is so minor (if you really believe the sweat pants line, which I’m not even sure I do).

    That’s my 2 cents.

  • Stewsquared

    I agree that there is plenty at stake. I want to see playoff hockey back in this town.

    It was bad timing, no question but the lapse in judgment was on the part of Evander. No one has to tell him that the Jets need wins right now and he made a conscious decision to do what he did.

    This team, with Chevy and Maurice at the helm don’t do anything short-term. Team defiance like this has to be nipped in the bud right away to develop this team-first culture for the long-term.

    Kane knows what time of the year it is and he chose to be selfish and disobey a team rule at a time when his team needs everyone to step up.

    I don’t necessarily believe it was actually sweatpants, but call it whatever you want to the media. A team rule was broken and the team suffered as a result.

  • Don22

    Hey Jets fans. What is your opinion of Kane? Both as a player and off ice? I’m and Islanders fan and our blog pages are full of discussions about trying to trade for Kane. I am concerned that there are personality issues present that won’t just go away once he is traded. Is he a player that just needs a change of scenery to flourish both on the ice and off?

    The Isles need someone who can play with JT and Kane could be a good fit. But for what it will cost them, I would be worried that eventually these issues will arise in NY.

    Any thoughts?

    Cheers and good luck.