Evander Kane comments during Oilers game much ado about nothing

Oct 11, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane (91) smiles during warm up prior to a game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane (91) smiles during warm up prior to a game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

Evander Kane made some comments during the second intermission of the Oilers game versus the Jets on Saturday, which have been blown out of proportion.

Evander Kane will be the first person to admit he’s not helped himself over the years, with some of his actions. However, he’s been pretty much a model citizen since arriving in Edmonton, with the Oilers finally providing him with the stability and comfort he needs.

Yes, Kane’s having some issues with his performances of late, which has seen him held to just one point and a team-worst -6 plus/minus rating through the first five games of 2023-24. However, this has been linked to some lingering issues with his wrist surgery from last season, and he remains confident he’ll get back on track soon enough.

In this respect, the 2009 fourth overall draft pick seemed to start finding some form on Saturday night, versus the Winnipeg Jets. Unfortunately for him, this set the stage for the latest controversy of his tumultuous career in the NHL.

The perceived controversy relates to some comments Kane made, during the second intermission of Saturday night’s game versus the Winnipeg Jets. At the time, he was talking to Scott Oake of CBC Sports.

So what did Kane say?

Oake asked if part of the reason the winger had played better during the second period, was due to a fight he had with the Jets’ Brendan Dillon. He said:

"“Yeah, I didn’t play much in the first period, so I thought I might as well get into a fight and take seven or eight minutes in the box.”"

Subsequently, there were plenty of media and fans alike, who took this as Kane being extremely selfish; that he was only thinking of himself. Evening more damning, were suggestion he was taking a shot of Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft, about his lack of playing time.

Now yes, the Vancouver, British Columbia native had been moved down to the third line for the first time this season. In this respect though, his comments about less playing time were just being made in a factual sense, due to being in the bottom six and not helped by the high number of penalties both teams had to contend with.

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Further, the inference is that Kane was just trying to find a way to get his teammates fired up. Following a blistering start to the game which saw the Oilers take a 2-0 lead inside seven minutes, their intensity and fire somewhat subsided to a certain extent.

There is no doubt the 32-year-old’s past does not help, with him often perceived as a polarizing person. However, as pointed about by those defending him, would there be as much of a furore if these comments had been made by another player?

Further, it really does just seem like Kane’s words have been taken out of context. In fact, the Oilers have been down this road already in 2023-24, with comments Connor McDavid made about the Canucks after the season opener.

Not helping the whole situation for Kane, is when people are just clipping his comments without the rest of the interview. This includes in some cases, not enclosing Oake’s preceding question, which is terribly irresponsible.

Kane provides some more insight

At least the former Buffalo Sabre had the opportunity to respond on Monday, following practice. Speaking to the assembled media, he said:

"“It’s really easy to view that as complaining about ice time, when they don’t clip the question and they just clip my answer right? So like, a lot of the times when I’ve talked about the media, there’s always a lack of context and that was a great example of something being taken, a quote from me without there even being a question involved. So people are going to take it as they may.”"

Even though it really did seem like much ado about nothing, Woodcroft was also asked about Kane’s original comments. He said:

"“I see that as a positive. I saw somebody that was frustrated with the way the first two periods went, in terms of the amount of penalties taken. If you look at the first two periods, I think both teams took five penalties each, that led to power plays. … So like I said, I saw some positives in his game, as the game wore on. As I said, he got physical, he got in a fight. I thought the team responded and did some good things. I don’t see that as a negative at all. I see it as someone who’s passionate and wants to get into a rhythm and wants to play.”"

Next. Thrills, spills, and chills of Oilers' last 3 games. dark

Overall, this just feels like a manufactured attempt in some corners, to return to the narrative of Kane causing problems for the latest organization he plays for. The truth is however, he’s finally found a home in Edmonton, he’s more mature these days, feels a sense of loyalty to the Oilers, and his comments have just been misconstrued.