No guarantees when it comes to Evander Kane in the Stanley Cup Final

Evander Kane will be a crucial storyline versus the Florida Panthers, both in respect of his availability and how effective he will be for the Edmonton Oilers.
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Evander Kane has been involved in plenty of scandals during his time in the NHL, which we're not going to get into now. However, for the most part he's been a model citizen and excellent teammate since joining the Edmonton Oilers in January of 2022.

Now we appreciate that there are those out there who will argue the other way, about Kane being well behaved since arriving in Edmonton. Examples from this season alone, include the likes of comments made during interviews, perceived heated exchanges with teammates, and apparent discipline disguised as a maintenance day.

And of course let's not forget Sportsnet's Mark Spector accusing the 32-year-old of just generally causing too much drama. However, as with the other incidents mentioned, we have contended that all of them were blown out of proportion, with the irony of Spector's claim specifically being that he was the one creating the drama.

In the headlines again

Regardless of your individual perspective however, Kane will always be considered one of the more newsworthy players anytime he is involved in something, such is his polarising nature. Along these lines, he is among the major talking points ahead of the beginning of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

The Vancouver native sustained an injury during the first period of the series-clinching 2-1 win versus the Dallas Stars last Sunday night. As a result he only saw 4:39 of action overall, including no ice time during the third period.

Ever since, anyone involved has been wondering if Kane will be available for game one of the Stanley Cup Final in Florida. It doesn't help that the Oilers have been coy about the nature of his injury, leaving people to speculate about if it's to do with his season-long sports hernia issue, or regarding something else entirely? (Or maybe his sports hernia and a different injury.)

Kane himself is not entirely certain about his availability

Now it should be stressed that the 2009 fourth overall draft pick has been involved in practice during the week. And yet uncertainty remains about his status for game one, including from the player himself.

Consider comments made by Kane, during an interview with the NHL Network. He said: "Usually I'd be the one complaining about all this time off between series, but this time I was very happy about it. It's been really good for me to have a week off before game one tomorrow night, and hopefully I'll be ready to go."

The NHL Network had preempted Kane's comments by saying they weren't going to delve too much into his health, thus his answer still had a certain air of ambiguity about it (probably by design). In any event, you can read between the lines and decipher that he has been in a battle against time, to be ready for Saturday night in Florida.

Oilers need an effective Kane

Even if the winger is good to go in game one, this then leads to the question of how much of the series he will be available for? This in turn leads to wondering about how effective he can and will be versus the Panthers?

Make no mistake about the reality that Kane is one of the more important players on this Oilers roster. And not just because he is one of their most aggressive players, when it comes to his ability to match up against a more physical overall opponent.

In addition, the 2007 Memorial Cup winner is reliable when it comes to score points, with him coming off his best regular season yet in this regard for the Oilers. Lets not forget that early on in the season when the team was struggling -- including the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl -- he was one of the few to consistently produce points.

Next. Oilers have little experience to rely on for Stanley Cup Final. Oilers have little experience to rely on for Stanley Cup Final. dark

Overall, there's no denying a healthy Kane in the lineup vastly improves the Oilers' chances of winning their first Stanley Cup since 1990. However the key word in that previous sentence is 'healthy' and if that means him missing game one to get to that point, then it might be best for coach Kris Knoblauch and company to play it safe (and smart).

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