SUNRISE, Fla. — Is the San Jose Sharks’ case for terminating Evander Kane’s contract in jeopardy?
Yesterday, the NHL announced that they wouldn’t discipline Kane for allegedly crossing the US-Canada border while COVID-positive around the new year.
The league “concluded that 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.'”
Kane told TSN that he did not enter Canada illegally, suggesting that he was not COVID-positive and did not submit a fake negative test when he entered.
Recall, however, the Sharks’ statement when they terminated Kane’s contract three weeks ago: “The San Jose Sharks have informed Evander Kane that he has been placed on unconditional waivers with intent to terminate his contract for breach of his NHL Standard Player Contract and for violation of the AHL COVID-19 protocols.”
The NHLPA swiftly filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf against the San Jose Sharks.
The NHL’s decision yesterday would seem to be a big win for the Players’ Association.
However, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly texted San Jose Hockey Now yesterday: “Since the investigation was related to conduct unrelated to conduct Sharks relied on to terminate, should have no effect on the grievance.”
How does that make sense? The league isn’t punishing Evander Kane for this alleged additional violation of COVID protocol — but wasn’t that part of the Sharks organization’s grounds for terminating his contract in the first place?
The devil is in the details.
Granted, we don’t know all the details, all the reasons why the Sharks are terminating Kane’s contract — and why the NHL was comfortable supporting it then.
Bill Daly, on NHL's position on #SJSharks terminating Kane's contract: "I can say we are satisfied that they have adequate grounds to terminate."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) January 8, 2022
But we know one reason why and San Jose Hockey Now has received an important degree of clarity about another reason why in the last 24 hours.
Going back to the Sharks’ original statement — Kane’s alleged “breach of his NHL Standard Player Contract” — San Jose contends that Kane was supposed to return to the Barracuda on Dec. 31, and didn’t return until Jan. 6.
That’s still part of the Sharks’ argument against Kane.
Also, it’s San Jose Hockey Now’s understanding that the NHL strictly investigated Kane’s cross-border travel and its legality — that’s it. Kane “won” that investigation, but there are a host of other possible COVID protocol violations that he could have committed.
Like, for example, what was Kane doing in Vancouver when he was supposed to be in the AHL’s then 10-day quarantine for symptomatic individuals? Remember, Kane tested positive for COVID on Dec. 21, reportedly had a “bad” case, then crossed the border on Dec. 29.
Or did the Sharks give proper clearances for such a trip?
Those are just hypothetical examples, but there’s a reason why the NHL still believes in San Jose’s case against Evander Kane.
There are surely other facets to San Jose’s case, some things we can guess, some things we can’t.
SJHN’s prediction is still that the Sharks and Evander Kane reach a settlement. What might that look like?
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