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.