February 7, 2012
Jets’ Kane rested, ready to score
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
Evander Kane will be back in the lineup on Tuesday night when the Winnipeg Jets host the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kane has missed the last seven games with a concussion, which he believes he originally suffered in a contest against the New York Islanders on Dec. 20, at MTS Centre, and aggravated it against the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 19.
“I feel a lot better,” Kane said. “The head feels good, and I feel well rested, so I’m ready for tonight.”
Kane hadn’t scored in 10 games prior to his injury, but he still leads the team with 18 goals — one shy of his career high. He doesn’t think the first concussion of his career played a role in his slump.
“I don’t think it was affecting my play,” he said. “It was a long time ago, and I got over it quickly. I just wasn’t feeling the same as I felt most of the year, so I kind of wanted to take a step back and rest up and get a little better.”
The Jets have scored just five goals in their last six games, so Kane’s return won’t hurt.
“It’s tough to win hockey games scoring one or two goals, and we need to find a way to create offence,” Kane said. “We have the guys in here to do it. We just need to be better.”
Kane will skate on the second line with Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood, and head coach Claude Noel expects him to get 14 or 15 minutes of ice time.
No members of the Jets has been under more scrutiny than Kane this season. He has been a target of some fans through social media, and rumours about his suffering his concussion in a bar fight have been swirling.
Kane is taking it all in stride.
“It’s definitely interesting,” said Kane, who added his concussion did not take place off the ice. “When you play junior it’s obviously a lot different. This kind of media attention is to be expected here. You’re in Canada, and all eyes are on you. It’s fun, and I’m enjoying it so far.”
The Maple Leafs (28-19-6) come to town having won three in a row. They are in seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, eight points up on the Jets and have a game in hand. They did, however, have to play at home on Monday night, so fatigue could be a factor.
The Jets (24-24-6) have lost two in a row and are five points out of third place.
Jets centre Tim Stapleton will miss his eighth straight game with a lower-body injury, and Winnipeg made room for Kane by sending Spencer Machacek back to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps on Tuesday morning.