On Thursday night, a CTV Regina sports reporter named Julie Stewart-Binks ("Alice Cooper's No. 1 fan.") wrote that Evander Kane, the Winnipeg Jets' star forward and current restricted free agent, wants out:
"According to inside sources, Evander Kane has asked for a trade from the Winnipeg Jets. Wants to be face of franchise... But Jets 2011 First Overall pick Mark Schiefele (sp) will likely be the face of the franchise."
This is, as they say, airtight logic.
Of course Mark Scheifele will likely become the face of the franchise based on his seven NHL games, in comparison to Kane's 30-goal season.
And why wouldn't a player of Kane's abilities demand a trade to a place where he could be come the face of the franchise; places such as … uh … er … does any franchise out there need a face at the moment? Is he forcing a trade to Columbus?
So to the surprise of no one, the report was shot down. Just like it's been every time an Evander Kane trade request has been reported.
On the most recent request, it was Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press that sunk it:
At a time when the alleged tension between Coach Claude Noel and his Jets players was under scrutiny, rumors flew that Kane wanted out. His agent Craig Oster denied it:
"Neither he nor us have talked about a trade. Evander is very excited to be in Winnipeg and about his future with Winnipeg."
Kane also issued a denial: "The story started on some blog. I haven't even read it. I don't know what to think. I haven't asked for a trade and I'm happy where I am and I expect to be here for a long time."
A cluster-bomb of coverage on various accusations and insinuations about Evander Kane, including skipping out on restaurant bills and his suffering a concussion in an off-ice incident. Kane denied it all, telling the Toronto Star that media coverage in Winnipeg is "a lot different" than in Atlanta. "This kind of media attention is to be expected here in Canada. All eyes are on you. It's fun."
This messy mess didn't result in a trade request rumor at the time … but would become part of a larger narrative for Kane in the summer.
Renaud P. Lavoie of RDS didn't say Kane requested a trade. Just that he didn't want to be a Winnipeg Jet anymore.
Once again, it was Oster, denying the rumor on the Illegal Curve Radio Show.
The IC also had Darren Dreger of TSN on, saying the following in late June:
"No, I don't (think that Evander Kane is on the trade market). I base that on what I saw today, and what I saw today was Don Meehan, Craig Oster (Kane's agents), Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Winnipeg Jets meeting here in Pittsburgh, and beginning the process.
"This was an introductory meeting, I know they spent some time dispelling the rumor out there and all the speculation that this guy wants out. There's no perfect fit for any player, I don't know that Evander Kane has any issues, real tangible issues with the Winnipeg Jets. I kind of doubt it, given that there has been a negotiation here, at least one that's starting."
In July, it was reported that Kane and Jets were working on a John Tavares-level contract.
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Does the fact that discontent seems to haunt Evander Kane indicate that he actually does want out?
Tough to say. It's clear that Kane didn't have the sunniest first season in the 'Peg, from his injury to the incredible scrutiny he faced off the ice. (When's the last time an NHL star had to address rumors he stepped out on restaurant bills?)
That he hasn't signed with the Jets yet shouldn't be seen as an indication of anything — hell, Ryan O'Reilly hasn't signed with the Avalanche either, and it's not like the expiration of the CBA doesn't play a role in this either.
But how many more "Kane wants out" stories are we going to see? Do they end when a new contract begins?