Evander Kane

Jets can’t let Kane situation fester much longer

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Kevin Cheveldayoff is willing to consider trade offers for Evander Kane. The Winnipeg Jets’ general manager said so at the draft in Philadelphia.

“If there’s a [player on the Jets] that a team has an interest in, my phone is open for a phone call,” Cheveldayoff said in response to a question about Kane’s status with the club.

And after yesterday’s “so we’ll see what happens” remark from Kane himself, one wonders if a few GMs around the league might be taking advantage of that open-phone policy.

But if Kane does want out of Winnipeg — and he sure didn’t deny he does — Cheveldayoff will no doubt want to achieve a couple of things with any trade.

1. The 2014-15 Jets can’t get significantly worse. Winnipeg has already missed the playoffs in its first three seasons since moving from Atlanta, and the Central Division is already tough enough. Which is to say, if Kane is traded, a good NHL-ready player better be coming back in return. A package of picks and prospects isn’t going to cut it. Too much uncertainty there. And too much pressure on Cheveldayoff to get results. Now.

2. That NHL-ready player better have a reasonably long future in Winnipeg. Kane, 22, is signed through 2017-18, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. Which is to say, if Kane is traded, it can’t be for a guy who could leave town in a year or two. Nor can it be for a player who’s going to come to town and pout, a la Jeff Carter in Columbus.

Adding to the challenge for Cheveldayoff is the fact Kane doesn’t have the greatest reputation. For all the undeniable talent the former fourth overall pick possesses, there are questions about his attitude, and about how he gets along with teammates and coaches.

Whatever happens, the Jets can’t let this situation fester (to borrow a phrase from a team that had its own unhappy player) much longer.

As Kane said yesterday, “there’s been speculation and rumors for the three years since” he got to Winnipeg.

And as Cheveldayoff said at the draft, “there’s been lots of different rumors out there.”

The solution? Either Kane is traded or, if it’s not too late, the two sides reconcile and tell the fans they’re committed to each other.

Because it can’t keep going like this.

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.