WASHINGTON — “I got caught by surprise a little bit this summer.”
That’s what Evander Kane told TSN’s Kayla Grey of his thoughts when he learned the San Jose Sharks wanted to move away from him this summer.
This is from Part One of the two-part interview on “The Shift”.
Kane signed with the Edmonton Oilers today, after the Sharks terminated his contract earlier this month.
“Sources indicate significant friction built up between Kane and a number of his teammates last season,” Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff wrote in June, “frustration that was expressed clearly to management in exit interviews.”
“At the end of the year, personally I had a great year, as a team not so much, which was unfortunate,” Kane told Grey of his media-voted Team MVP campaign. “I had a lot of positive feedback from the coaches, the GM, management, and it was not only said to me directly, but said to the media as well.
“Not just at the end of the season, during the season, how great I was with the young guys and so forth.
“On a personal note, I felt really good about my impact on the group.”
Kane led the San Jose Sharks with 22 goals and 49 points during the 2020-21 season.
Kevin Kurz of The Athletic followed up Seravalli’s report, writing that Sharks teammates were unhappy with Evander Kane’s “general disrespect for team rules, including routinely being late for games and practices, not adhering to the dress code and having poor practice habits.”
The Athletic also reported that Kane almost got into a fight with Sharks assistant coach Rocky Thompson over the winger’s positioning on the power play.
Kane addressed the dispute with Thompson, who went unnamed, in the TSN interview:
“There was one story with an assistant coach, who had taken his shirt off during a power play meeting and challenged me to a fight,
“That got out, and there’s only a few players in that meeting, so it was unfortunate because I was under the assumption that our group was a tight group that kept things in house as a lot of teams like to do, the fact that that got out, and how specific it was — it wasn’t a rumor, it was a legitimate story — it was interesting to see some of that come out, wondering who that could be from, because it was clearly somebody in that meeting.
“We were in a power play meeting, I think we were just giving our opinions on what we could do better and I gave my opinion.
“I think our assistant coach, he maybe didn’t agree with it — anyways, the meeting was over and we’re all kind of getting ready and chatting afterwards and he comes back into the locker room, with his shirt off and flexing and kind of being all hype and whatnot, and challenging me to a fight.
“So it was interesting, I actually didn’t respond, some of the guys were laughing, thought it was funny — I thought he was joking around, to be honest, I didn’t think he was being serious, because again, it was surprising for an assistant coach to do that.”
Kane was not asked directly about his adherence to team rules like punctuality and dress code. Grey did ask if Kane ever heard “that you actually weren’t good for the young guys, that there were issues in how they felt you were reprimanded for the bankruptcy or past things that had happened, the ways in which you were tied to other headlines.”
Kane responded: “I never heard any feedback with regards to those issues.”
He added: “I had actually reached out to [Sharks GM Doug Wilson] to see what it was all about, and it was definitely denied on that end. So I just figured it was rumors.”
Once again, Evander Kane refused to confirm the particulars of his first COVID violation, allegedly submitting a fake vaccination card, that caused the NHL to suspend him for 21 games.
He said, presumably of the first and second COVID violations, that there were “ongoing” investigations and that “some of these things have possible legal ramifications or civil ramifications.”
The second COVID violation is reportedly that Kane crossed the US-Canada border while COVID-positive in late December.
He did deny crossing Canada illegally. Today, the NHL stated that they would not punish Kane for this alleged second COVID violation: “There was insufficient evidence to ‘conclusively find that Mr. Kane knowingly made misrepresentations regarding his COVID-19 status or test results in connection with his international travel.’ ”
Whatever happened in the locker room or with COVID protocol, Kane was not welcomed back to the San Jose Sharks in late November when his first COVID suspension was served. He was instead banished to the AHL, where he played five games, until his recent contract termination.
Kane says he was never told why he was being sent to the AHL: “I wasn’t given any specific reason, directly to me, no.”
Kane also addressed his estranged wife Anna Kane’s allegations that he committed domestic violence in their relationship. He also seemed to touch on accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment in Buffalo, though he was not asked specifically about those charges. The 2016 assault case is still ongoing, while the harassment charges were dismissed.
“That gets to me because it’s so untrue. It’s so false. It’s a horrific thing to be associated with in any capacity,” Kane said. “I’ve never done that ever. I know there have been certain accusations about different things that I’ve dealt with on more than one occasion.”
He noted: “I’ve heard that saying a lot, where there’s smoke, there has to be fire. But what happens with smoke is that it clears.”
Special thanks to Kat Pitre for transcribing the interview.
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