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Getting to the bottom of the ‘Kane Saga’

The Winnipeg Free Press's Gary Lawless has been on top of the Evander Kane saga since its outset, and this morning, Lawless suggests that the Winnipeg Jets' season sits at a crossroads (if not on a long Manitoba train track) thanks to the actions of not only Dustin Byfuglien, but also the Jets' captain, Andrew Ladd, its coach, Paul Maurice, and to some extent, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff:

Let’s review: Kane shows up for a team meeting in sweats. Byfuglien determines this isn’t good enough and tosses his teammates gear into a shower or a cold tub. Kane’s belongings are soaked and his pride and very likely his heart are damaged. He’s been humiliated by one of his big brothers. By one of the men he’s lived and worked with going on six years. Maybe there was a time when this manner of sending a message was accepted and worked, but no longer. It just made a mess.

Ladd is the captain of this room and anything that happens behind those closed doors is his responsibility. He needs to have his finger on the pulse of things. If he stood by and let Byfuglien commit this act — it’s on him. If he missed and then couldn’t or wouldn’t solve the issue before it blew up as it has — again it’s on him.

Same goes for Maurice. This coach likes to say he lets the players run the room. Fine. But at some point in time Tuesday when this was playing out, Maurice had to determine his influence was needed. He’s lost a player. A skilled and productive forward on a team that just can’t afford to move on without a suitable replacement.

If Kane is indeed done with the Jets and Cheveldayoff can’t put together a deal to replace him, it’s hard to imagine this ending well for Winnipeg.

Lawless continues, and he does an excellent job of reminding us that whatever happened, a young man got treated like a child thanks to teammates who were equally "in the wrong" by going "old-school" on him, and the coach and GM are also culpable here...

And this is a situation that has less to do with a troubled player being an *#$%@& than it has to do with a troubled player's behavior yielding, well, organizationally-approved, coach-approved, captain-approved and teammate-approved assholery.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+ladd, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, kevin+cheveldayoff, winnipeg+jets

Comments

Alan's avatar

Should Kane have known better? Yes. He’s still very much a kid out there, still very immature. If the Jets manage to trade him, he’s going to have to go to an organization that he can grow and mature in. Otherwise, he won’t last much longer in this league.

Should Byflugien have known better? Yes. It’s one thing to go ‘old school’ if someone knows something like that could happen. Evidently, this was a first, and it doesn’t appear to have worked in quite the way it was imagined it would.

This, to me, is a clear case of the inmates being allowed to run the asylum. You just can’t do that. There’s gotta be some sort of structure there. Unfortunately, the structure wasn’t there in Atlanta, and it still doesn’t exist today in Winnipeg.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 02/06/15 at 04:00 AM ET

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Ha!! Kane is now the victim? Why because of “old school” tactics? Well the “new school” tactics of sitting him down in a “professional” manner and telling him his behavior is unacceptable obviously didn’t work. Kane has been a cancer since day 1 and his teammates finally had enough. I think Big Buff should be applauded because he finally got the message delivered to management and to Kane that the team is better off without him. Evander is better off missing the rest of the season by getting the surgery needed for his shoulder, letting things die down, and buying Chevaldayoff time to find a new home for him. I think a new team with a fresh start could do Kane a lot of good just like it did Seguin.

PS Please take into account my opinion might be bias from the standpoint that I have both Kane and Byfuglien on my fantasy hockey team.

Posted by crank1919 on 02/06/15 at 05:25 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Childishness on both sides, but Kane needs to man up a bit.  If that’s all it takes to unerve him enough to quit on his team, he’s not long for this league.

Posted by Hootinani on 02/06/15 at 09:18 AM ET

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I love the old school. Its sad to see the pussification of the world rewards people that play the victim card. If I f’d up like Kane did is prefer to play in wet pads for a day than miss a game or get fined. Bufy was right on the money and it’s sad to see people get all butthurt about it.

Posted by SlimChance on 02/06/15 at 09:41 AM ET

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Kane needs to man up a bit.

I know, right?  Can you believe he had the gall to wear comfortable clothes to a team meeting?

Bufy was right on the money and it’s sad to see people get all butthurt about it.

It’s sad to see people support childishness like that.

Posted by Garth on 02/06/15 at 10:32 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

I can’t believe this, but I’m going to agree with Garth for once. I don’t care what someone did, tossing the clothes they wore to a team meeting into a shower or tub making them soak is unacceptable anywhere. When it boils down to it, it’s still a business producing a product. Would it be acceptable for this to occur in any of your places of work? Heck no. So why is it always acceptable when it’s done in the “locker room”. It’s borderline hazing and/or bullying is what it really is.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 02/06/15 at 10:46 AM ET

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Team rules have always been to come to team meetings dressed in a suit. Look professional is the rule of every team in the NHL. Kane has been in the NHL and a Winnipeg Jet long enough to know showing up in sweats is not going to sit well with anyone on the team. If he is going to act unprofessional than he deserves getting his sweats thrown in a shower. Oh poor baby got all embarrassed because his clothes were wet. Kane should grow up, act professional, dress like a professional and start earning respect from his teammates and Jets fans. Showing up for meetings dressed like a slacker is disrespectful to his teammates, coaches and the people that pay his salary. As for Byfuglien, we don’t know what goes on in the locker room, could be he has tried to tell Kane to act like a pro and it hasn’t worked. Good for Byfuglien for doing something.

Posted by Puckbubba on 02/06/15 at 11:15 AM ET

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A few observations:

1) I have a feeling this was the final straw for Byfuglien/Ladd as it related to Kane, rather than an isolated incident. My guess is that Kane has either had a history of childish moves or that he’s been a jerkoff on more than a couple occasions over the last short stretch of time. This was the boiling over point.

2) You don’t let your dirty laundry get out in the open. That rips teams apart.

3) By-fug-li-en and Ladd have to handle this better. I guess we don’t know the whole story - and maybe they’ve tried everything under the sun without effect - but peer-imposed discipline has got to be constructive, especially for a young kid. No matter how much experience he has. He’s still young.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 02/06/15 at 11:28 AM ET

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I’ve changed my mind   He should sue and probably be evaluated for PTSD.  Also, I no longer think grown men that use “I know right” sound like teenage girls.

Posted by SlimChance on 02/06/15 at 12:00 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Kane should grow up, act professional, dress like a professional and start earning respect from his teammates and Jets fans

Yes he should.

...and childish high school-level bullshit is JUST the way to send the message that the Jets locker room is full of professional-acting adults who deserve to have their respect earned.

The Jets letting it get to this point in the first place have shown that they’re severely asleep at the wheel. This is a toxic locker room environment where Kane has been allowed to subtly rebel against the team for too long and the team has been allowed the formation of a bully clique that hasn’t particularly done anything worthy of actually falling in line under.

Let’s get this straight so the crybabies who think childishly ruining a grown man’s clothes to tell him to grow up is actually an intelligent way to go about doing things: everybody is in the wrong here (as mentioned by many of the commenters below me).

If he has been maturely told to act like an adult and has refused, then the problem is with the team not delivering actual adult-level consequences for his attitude. Why does Evander Kane have 361 NHL games to his record at age 23 if it’s gotten to the point where he’s so disrespected in the locker room that a guy who isn’t even the captain thinks it’s his job to “send a message” using the most childish means he can think of?

Winnipeg let this thing fester for years and now instead of one problem child, they’ve got a whole room full of them. This isn’t the way to run a professional organization.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/15 at 12:31 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I like how everyone is tossing around the word “childish” as an insult in reference to big kids playing a kids game for a living. Newsflash - sports are “childish”. That’s just a fact. I know it’s big business and a lot of us fanatics take the game and ourselves mighty seriously, but take a step back for a minute and suddenly you can see this for what it is. Big kids playing a kids game (...extremely violently grin ).

I think Vito nailed it and that this was obviously a breaking point and big dumb Buff just flipped out. While Kane’s behavior may not happen in every locker room, I think the potential for a reaction like Buff’s IS in fact in every locker room. I mean, shaving cream to the face on your birthday is pretty damn “childish” as well (probably doesn’t happen in law offices), but again, these are men who have been doing the locker room thing since they were tiny little kids. This is how they are conditioned to act and react. This pseudo-“bullying” type of locker room behavior is probably not nearly as “old school” as everyone thinks. I’m sure there’s some version of childish regulating by vets on kids all over the league… just not as publicly and maybe without the hurt feelings. That’s the difference here. This isn’t about Kane’s clothes. This was a breaking point for everyone involved and probably the 100th confrontation he’s had with the team’s vets. And now everyone knows about it and suddenly there’s all this shock and awe from the gallery.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/06/15 at 02:44 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

lol. Billions of dollars moving around and it’s ok for them to act immaturely because children also play games.

shaving cream to the face on your birthday isn’t childish the same way wanton destruction of private property is childish.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/15 at 03:36 PM ET

perfection's avatar

shaving cream to the face on your birthday isn’t childish the same way wanton destruction of private property is childish.

first off, yes it is and even more so since destruction of property has many very non-childish versions (like civil disobedience for example). Whether something is deemed as good natured and playful or mean spirited and vindictive doesn’t necessarily correlate to how immature it is.

Again, I’m not saying this particular act is “ok”, but rather that this kind of stuff is likely extremely normal and common because that’s the nature of locker room culture. Sometimes guys cross lines or there’s other pent up emotions that color whats going on. I think this situation is a perfect example. There’s obviously more than meets the eye here and I think the specific method of lashing out at Kane is sort of besides the point. Again, this brand of immaturity could easily happen in any locker room in the league including the Wings. I think Danny Cleary wouldn’t hesitate to wreck someone’s clothes if he felt it was warranted. It just so happens most locker rooms aren’t poisonous enough environments where their inherent immaturity manifests this negatively. But don’t fool yourself, there’s a bunch of big kids acting like kids in every locker room in the league.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/06/15 at 04:07 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

first off, yes it is and even more so since destruction of property has many very non-childish versions (like civil disobedience for example). Whether something is deemed as good natured and playful or mean spirited and vindictive doesn’t necessarily correlate to how immature it is.

Hahaha of course it correlates.  Also, it’s not civil disobedience when you destroy property; that’s actually a crime.  Also also, hahahahaha comparing Byfuglien destroying somebody else’s property to civil disobedience. The logical pretzels here are delicious.

Yes, things that are mean-spirited and vindictive are worse and MORE-childish than playful pranks. They are MORE-immature.

I think Danny Cleary wouldn’t hesitate to wreck someone’s clothes if he felt it was warranted

Since we’re already playing semantics, by the time anybody feels something is warranted, a refusal to carry out such a warrant is a character flaw all its own. Why Dan Cleary though? why isn’t Pavel Datsyuk your resident clothes’ destroyer? Who’s the real 30-year old in the Red Wings’ locker room who is the self-appointed czar of decorum? The only difference is that the Wings are that much better at hiding it? Is that it?

I don’t agree. I think by-and-large there’s a lot of playful stuff and there is also a lot of negativity between people that ranges from lukewarm to absolutely ice cold, but I don’t think the norm in locker rooms across the league is this mean-spirited cliquish behavior among the locker room leadership that does immature things to people in order to make them more mature.

Especially since I believe there’s a direct tie between where “inherent immaturity manifests this negatively” and the sheer AMOUNT of immaturity present.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/15 at 04:26 PM ET

Avatar

Were his clothes destroyed or just wet? It makes a difference and they aren’t the same thing. As far as crime goes, everything the nazis did was legal in Germany. That said, this has to be the dumbest argument I’ve been a part of. I’m just happy I didn’t read any charges of racism. That makes me happy.

Posted by SlimChance on 02/06/15 at 05:59 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/15 at 03:26 PM ET

you’ve sort of lost me here (and I’m not going to debate the definition of civil D with you which usually IMPLIES a crime being committed. I also wasn’t obviously comparing Buff to that, but again, you are taking this comment for much more of a ride than I intended) . what I was saying is pretty simple. hockey lockerrooms are immature environments, period. Usually, because everyone is friends, that immaturity comes out playfully, but sometimes it doesn’t like this case. I’m sure there’s stuff in the middle too where rookies get tricked into paying big tabs or carrying veterans stuff or something that doesn’t create bad blood, doesn’t make the news, but still might leave the rookie feeling slightly pissed or bullied. bet that kind of stuff happens every year on just about every team.

Yes, things that are mean-spirited and vindictive are worse and MORE-childish than playful pranks. They are MORE-immature.

by this definition its more “childish” to slit someones throat than give them a wedgie which is just nonsense. some things are super mean and horrible and not immature at all while other things are playful and super immature. correlating them in the way you have is just not proper logic

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/06/15 at 06:09 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

everything the nazis did was legal in Germany.

lol. Good point.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/15 at 06:09 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

correlating them in the way you have is just not proper logic

Well when you have to go out to the extreme of slitting somebody’s throat to break the correlation, then the break is with the fact you used something that’s not in the realm of “childish” or “immature” and more in the realm of “monstrous” and “inhumane”

I don’t think that those things are on the same scale of behaviors, so of course it doesn’t work when you use “slit your throat” as a stand-in for messing with somebody’s replaceable belongings. Calling that mean-spirited is like calling the Khmer Rouge “jerks”

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/15 at 06:18 PM ET

perfection's avatar

it doesn’t matter though, make the example is inane as you want, the point is the same, just because something is mean doesn’t make it childish or immature and just because something is immature it doesn’t mean it’s mean. seeing that those have no direct correlation, logically, just because something is more of one of those things it doesn’t make it automatically more the other. this is logic 101 we’re talking about. the extreme nature of my example doesn’t change this. that was supposed to just make it crystal clear as you apparently aren’t getting it.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/06/15 at 06:36 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

yes, there is an effective and important distinction to be made between “good childish” and “bad childish”, no matter how much of the real actual point you want to squeeze out of this conversation. You’re effectively trying to argue that the meaning of either “childish” or “immature” above is useless because apparently there’s no difference between mean-spirited childishness and the fun stuff. 

The context of what was being talked about was perfectly clear before we got to have a debate about what “is” is.

I stand entirely by my use of the word “childish” and “immature” with a negative connotation as it REALLY relates to this discussion.

There is childish glee
There is childish bullying

you have attempted to destroy the definitive difference between them for no apparent reason.

Going forward, all references to “childish” or “immature” as they relate to the actions of Evander Kane or Dustin Byfuglien should be understood to mean the latter. It is not good. It is the mean-spirited definition of childish which absolutely does exist, despite any attempts to say otherwise.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/15 at 07:01 PM ET

perfection's avatar

When you say ‘There is childish glee’ and ‘There is childish bullying’, my essential point from the beginning was that the immature culture of sports actually creates an environment where it’s not just either/or, but rather a full gradient scale from glee to bully. And while this case is definitely one of emotions boiling over, there’s probably plenty of slightly less tense forms of immaturity in NHL locker rooms that still straddle the “bully” line but with much less harm (like making a rookie DO something for you - even playfully it’s essentially a mild form of slavery which we both can agree is in a general sense a worse thing than destruction of property).

Now I’m totally with you that Byfuglien crossed the line (and who knows the true accumulation of causes that led him to crossing that line), but the line he crossed was being too big a jerk not too immature. Everyone seemed to be tossing around how ‘childish’ what he did was and I was just saying that isn’t actually the bad part.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 02/06/15 at 07:39 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Ok I can agree with you there. Thank you.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/06/15 at 07:56 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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