Evander Kane

Winnipeg columnist: Kane’s days are numbered with the Jets


Even after Evander Kane said he wasn’t trying to offend anyone by posing on a Las Vegas balcony with four bricks of cash and tweeting a picture of it, the Winnipeg Free Press ran a column by Gary Lawless that suggested the 21-year-old’s days are numbered with the Jets.

To be clear, it’s not just because of the Vegas tweet, argues Lawless. It’s about the reputation Kane’s built in the city.

There’s also this:

Kane isn’t very coachable. On or off the ice. He’s a talent. But he’s also a problem — there’s no disputing that.

Teammates have tried to reach him on certain subjects. He doesn’t listen. If he wants to bring his girlfriend along on the road, he does so. Veterans have tried to hammer home that road games are business trips. Focus should be on the work. Kane does what he wants when he wants. He’s a teammate but not yet a good one.

We’re not sure we’ve ever heard of a player bringing his girlfriend on the road. Is that approved by the team? It can’t be, right? He must hide her with the luggage or something.

At any rate, Kane supporters can argue all they want that a mountain is being made out of a molehill, but nobody can deny teams hate having to answer questions about this sort of stuff over and over.


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Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.