Flashy Kane battle-ready
|Jets forward Evander Kane skates during practice at the MTS Iceplex, Sep. 8, 2011. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - If you’re expecting Evander Kane to shy away from the spotlight this season, think again.
The energetic third-year left-winger skated for the first time with his Winnipeg Jets teammates on Thursday at MTS Iceplex and it was clear early on that he’s comfortable in front of the cameras and the microphones.
“I have no problem with pressure — you’re in a Canadian city now and the microscope is on everybody,” said Kane. “I got a taste of that with Team Canada events and even in junior, playing in Vancouver. It’s not too new for myself.
“I like pressure. I’m a fan of it and I think it makes you play better. It makes me play better. I like when the pressure is on because you have to perform and you’re being counted on to perform every night. I like to embrace pressure and use it to my advantage.”
The 20-year-old is expected to be a key contributor this season and he didn’t shy away from a question about possibly scoring 50 goals, since he would be sporting Bobby Hull’s old No. 9 after being encouraged to do so by the organization.
“I’m looking to score as many goals as I can this season, that never changes,” said Kane, who had 19 goals and 43 points last season. “I worked on everything but the biggest thing for me (this summer) is shooting. I wanted to come into camp and into the camp with better shooting accuracy. That’s what I improved on.”
Although he only saw a small sample of Kane up close after being acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins last season, fellow forward Blake Wheeler is expecting big things from the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
“He’s just a raw talent, he has no ceiling,” said Wheeler. “He can be as good as it can be. He’s the total package and I think if we’re going to take that next step, we’re going to need Kaner to take that next step with us as well. He’s got that ability and there’s no reason he can’t kind of come into his own this year.”
“He’s a hard-working guy but he’s also got a tremendous amount of skill,” added Jets hopeful Kenndal McArdle, who won a Memorial Cup with Kane as a member of the Vancouver Giants. “He’s got a huge shot, that he loves and he’s an exciting player.”