Kukla's Korner Hockey
Bob McKenzie was just on TSN Toronto radio...
It a poorly kept secret some of Evander Kane's teammates are not on the same page as Kane and the feeling is mutual. They sent a message to Kane in Vancouver.
McKenzie says he doesn't know Kane personally enough to make a long-term judgment on him but does say he is only 23 years old.
McKenzie says Kane is available and says there are two types of teams right now, contending teams and non-contending teams.
He also mentions his injury could be a concern now, would you trade for him and find out later he needs surgery.
Teams will do their homework on Kane and then decide if they should take a shot at him.
Will his maturity level get better is the question.
McKenzie says if Kane really wants to get out of Winnipeg, the best thing he could do is play at his level. The decision is Kane's, does he shut it down and go for surgery or play through it and prove his worth?
McKenzie says the last thing the Leafs need is Kane, they have enough wingers, they need centermen.
He also says he is certain a Kane trade will happen and logistics tell him a trade will more likely happen during the summer and again, it depends on if Kane decides if he is healthy enough to play this year.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Evander Kane failed to show up in time for Winnipeg’s game in Vancouver earlier this week following an incident with Dustin Byfuglien and other teammates, Sportsnet has learned.
It was previously believed the Jets had made Kane a scratch for the game in his hometown. Following the 3-2 overtime loss on Tuesday, Paul Maurice termed it a “coach’s decision.”
However, multiple sources familiar with the situation have since indicated that Kane was not on the team’s bus to Rogers Arena and then missed a pre-game meeting. Repeated attempts to reach him were unsuccessful until approximately an hour before puck drop, when Kane answered his cellphone and said he wouldn’t be playing against the Canucks that night.
Earlier in the day, the 23-year-old winger is said to have had a run-in with teammates.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Five straight losses have significantly loosened their grip on a playoff spot, and has the Jets looking over their shoulders again, not at the teams above them.
What should have people reaching for the panic button, though, isn’t a simple losing streak. It’s how this team has suddenly begun to act like the old Jets.
You know, the immature, defensively inept bunch we got tired of watching the first three years. The one that cost Coach Claude his job just over a year ago.
Topping the list of concerns today is the return of Evander Kane to the coach’s doghouse, no minor detail given the circumstances in Vancouver, Tuesday night.
Kane was all set to play before his family and friends in his old hometown, only to see Paul Maurice banish him to the press box, presumably for breaking a team rule.
I say presumably because Kane had been one of the Jets better forwards of late. And if he’d been hurt, the Jets would have said so.
added 3:17pm, from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province.
via Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press,
"Coaches decision not to be in the lineup tonight," Maurice said after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Canucks at Rogers Arena pushed Winnipeg’s losing streak to a season-high five games but at least salvaged the Jets a much needed point.
Asked if he cared to expand on his answer, Maurice bristled. "What do you think the chances of you getting more are? We work together."
Asked if it was any more difficult to sit down one of his most productive players in recent weeks given Winnipeg’s current losing streak, Maurice replied: "I’ve just been doing this long enough that most of these aren’t that difficult to do."
Asked if he expected Kane to be in the lineup for Winnipeg’s next game — Friday night at MTS Centre against the Chicago Blackhawks — Maurice was flippant, suggesting that answer will have to wait for later in the week.
"Flight tomorrow fellas. Are you coming back to Winnipeg?...We’ll probably talk again. OK," said Maurice. "You guys get down to the MTS Centre tomorrow between 1:30 and 7 and I will catch up with you there."
That last comment was apparently meant to be a joke. The Jets have no practice or availability scheduled for Wednesday.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The Winnipeg Jets emerged as one of the Cinderella teams of the first half, elbowing their way into the mix in a stacked Central Division, but Paul Maurice's squad has faltered since the All-Star break. With a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday night, the Jets dropped their fourth straight.
Perhaps the most concerning factor is that they've surrendered 20 goals during that span. One of the most promising rookies this season, goaltender Michael Hutchinson, seems to be coming back to earth a bit. He was yanked after coughing up four goals on 23 shots. It's gut-check time for Winnipeg. Are the Jets for real, or were they just a tease?
continue for more topics from the ESPN hockey writers...
from Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun,
This team needs a move from the general manager. A trade to let the players know he’s serious about icing the best lineup every night — a move to equalize the depth on the team, subtracting a defenceman and adding a forward who can chip in with a few goals.
It would not be a terrible idea to move one of the top-six blue-liners for a top-six forward and plug one of the spare parts into the lineup on the back end.
Even if he’s not willing to move one of his nine defencemen, Kevin Cheveldayoff needs to find a way to add a missing piece for this team, even just to show his team and the fans of the Winnipeg Jets that he believes in their ability to make a playoff run and is willing to enhance the roster.
There are forwards available, for the price of draft picks or prospects. The Jets have plenty of both.
Right now, the only way the Jets have any depth at the forward position is if they are willing to move Dustin Byfuglien back to the wing from the blue-line, where he has been shining for the better part of two months, if someone gets injured.
It’s not the worst idea in the world. Unless your name is Dustin Byfuglien.
Voracek received two minutes for an illegal check to the head.
from Tavis Yost of TSN,
One of the big reasons why the Western Conference playoff race is so captivating this year is tied into the emergence of the Winnipeg Jets as a legitimate contender. Combine that with Nashville’s explosion in the standings, and you’re looking at a quarter of the playoff berths in the West potentially going to teams who many had on the outside looking in last October.
Make no mistake, a big reason why Winnipeg has looked better in the standings this year of is tied into improvement in the goaltending department. Michael Hutchinson has been a blessing for Paul Maurice’s team, and even Ondrej Pavelec has turned things around a bit this season. Relatively speaking, it’s the best goaltending the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise has seen.
The goaltending has carried things along, but it’s important to note that Winnipeg’s also playing significantly better from a possession standpoint this season, too. At Arctic Ice Hockey, Garret Hohl did an excellent job explaining the team’s spike in Score-Adjusted Corsi% this season (53.3% year-to-date, good for 9th in the NHL), and how three of Winnipeg’s four lines are generally out-playing the opposition.
This, of course, brings us to the most important question of all. We know the team can skate with most opponents. We know the goaltending’s improved – although there’s a degree of uncertainty as to whether or not the Hutchinson/Pavelec duo can hold on. If you are Kevin Cheveldayoff and are looking to improve this club at the trade deadline, how do you do it?
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
The addition of Trouba, probably the team’s best player on the blue line before Dustin Byfuglien reclaimed his kingdom, complicates matters further, and will no doubt have someone like Jay Harrison looking over his shoulder.
Enter GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, given a prime opportunity to improve his team where it needs it most: up front.
This won’t be easy. But as they say, no pain, no gain.
Cheveldayoff could just put Pardy, Postma and Harrison on the market and see what offers he gets.
The return would be minimal, though — likely a late-round draft pick.
Sending them down to the minors risks losing them for nothing in a waiver claim.
Some of the Jets’ more valuable pieces — Stuart, Zach Bogosian, Toby Enstrom, even Byfuglien — will have to be in play.
Sacrilege, you say?
Just good business.
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