Kane figures U.S. backlash wasn't a factor

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

OSHAWA -- Pat Kane does not believe his U.S. teammates refused to pass him the puck on a pivotal power play at the world junior championship in Sweden because he "defected" to the OHL this season.

With a chance to knock off Canada on an overtime power play in the semifinal, Kane stood at the side of the net and barely saw the puck as U.S. defenceman Erik Johnson teed off continuously from the point in an effort to bag the game-winning goal.

Kane, an 18-year-old London Knights forward who finished as one of the top point-getters in Sweden and should be a top pick in this June's NHL draft, figured his role was to set up as a decoy for Johnson, Jack Johnson and Peter Mueller on that late power play. The Americans failed to score and lost to Canada in a shootout.

"I'm not too upset I didn't get the puck because the Canadian defenceman (Marc) Staal was all over me at the side of the net," the Buffalo native said last night. "If he was going to play me like that, I thought it would be better to stand off to the side and create a three-on-two situation rather than a four-on-three."

As time expired on the man advantage, Kane had a rare chance to score, but tipped it over the net.

Though the U.S. ended up with the bronze medal, Kane knows how close they were to getting past Canada and playing for gold. He thought the bigger controversy was his failed shootout attempt the Americans thought crossed the goal line and Canadian goalie Carey Price used a slick pad move to pull it back out.

"On one camera angle -- the one where you see my back -- it looked like the puck went over the line," Kane said. "But when you look at from another angle, you couldn't tell. They can go upstairs for a video review in the shootout but they didn't and that's what the argument was about after the game. The ref didn't go upstairs."

When Kane returned to London, he took some time to recover from injuries suffered during the tournament and missed last Sunday's game in Saginaw. Last night marked his and Sergei Kostitsyn's first game back with their club team.

"They (the Knights) gave me the day off and I was taking it," Kane said. "I had a chance to rest and I'm feeling good."

Though London didn't make a big splash at the trade deadline, Kane doesn't see that as a barrier to a long playoff run and figures the Knights are strong enough to compete with Western Conference heavyweights like Kitchener, Plymouth and Saginaw.

"I think there's a lot of character in this room," he said. "I'm looking forward to the playoffs. It's going to be a good test for the younger guys to play in seven-game series."


Photos