Saturday, 20 September 2014

Are the Winnipeg Jets, by coddling Evander Kane, about to take off?

Interesting to see how the Winnipeg Jets are handling Evander Kane's situation this pre-season.  They repelled any notion that he would be traded this summer, sending a clear message to the league, the team and the player.

Now in camp, they intend to put him on a line with Mark Scheifele and possibly Blake Wheeler.  If that lasts, he'll basically be on a stacked line and have lots of opportunities to put up points.

And maybe that makes him happy, or close enough, in Winnipeg.

This summer, at the height of the fan turmoil surrounding Mr. Kane, Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press explained that the Jets not only were not willing to trade him because they thought they couldn't get fair value in return, but also thought his value would actually rise this season, after a blip due to injuries and growing pains the previous one.  They think he's about to take off as a genuine star in the league.

Head Coach Paul Maurice could also have an effect.  When he took over last year, he crowed about the size of the team, how he himself was already a pretty big guy, yet on the ice during chalk-talks he has to look up at pretty much every one of his players.  When he was asked what had gone wrong, he was polite and respectful of former coach Claude Noël, speaking nebulously about systems and buy-in and respect.

This season, it's clear what he intends to change, and that's the relatively lax work ethic.  He put his players on notice last spring that they needed to come into camp in better shape, and Mathieu Perreault was wheezing about the hard practice they had to go through on the first day of camp.

Now, if only the Jets could get their hands on a goalie.  I wonder if we sent them Dustin Tokarski, whether we could get a big scoring winger back in return?...

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