WINNIPEG – Despite all the hype surrounding his return to Winnipeg, Evander Kane is treating Sunday’s matinee match as just another game.
“It’s an afternoon game so it’s a little different that way,” says Kane. “I’m going in to it preparing as if we were playing any other team in the league. We’re on a six-game slide here so I’m looking for two points.”
The former Winnipeg Jets forward will face his old team tomorrow for the first time since being traded to the Buffalo Sabres. Kane was shipped to upstate New York in a blockbuster deal last February just days after he reportedly angered teammates by wearing a tracksuit to a team meeting. It’s speculated the decision to wear the casual clothing prompted Jets head coach Paul Maurice to scratch Kane for a game in his hometown against the Vancouver Canucks. Kane later opted to have season-ending shoulder surgery before being dealt to Buffalo.
“I have good memories here playing for this team and some of the seasons we had,” said Kane. “I’ve now moved on to Buffalo. That’s where my focus is. I don’t think too much about Winnipeg at all. I’m enjoying my life in Buffalo now.”
Kane called out his old organization in a recent edition of The Hockey News for not having his back. He also admitted in the article that he asked for a trade every off-season while playing for the Jets.
“Sometimes in pro sports, certain things just don’t fit,” said Kane. “It goes to show that sometimes a new scene can help. That fresh start has been refreshing.”
Kane though remained quiet during his days with the Jets every time he was asked about wanting to be dealt by reporters in Winnipeg.
“Hockey is a business,” said Kane. “Business is handled in different ways. At that point in time, it was best for business.”
Several Winnipeg hockey fans plan to attend Sunday’s game in tracksuits to poke fun of Kane. The 24-year-old said he had no reaction to supporters dressing in such a way.
Kane said he’s also taking a wait and see approach when asked if he thinks he’ll be heckled by Jets fans during the game.
Zach Bogosian will face his former team for the first time on Sunday as well. The defenceman was part of the swap that sent Kane to the Sabres.
Bogosian said things got stale in Winnipeg for him and wouldn’t confirm nor deny reports he asked for a trade.
“My respect for the Jets organization dates back to my first contract,” said Bogosian. “With Chevy, the way he handles things, it’s always in house and I’m going to keep it that way. I’m not going to say yes or no. What I am going to say is that I’ve enjoyed my move to Buffalo and I’m glad I’m a Sabre.”
NOTES: Jets forward Mark Scheifele will be a game-time decision for against the Sabres after suffering a lower-body injury in Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Stars. Scheifele awkwardly ran into the boards late in overtime and was in a ton of pain as he left the ice. Scheifele did not participate in Saturday’s practice. A conclusion on whether or not he plays will be made following Sunday’s warm-up. Jets head coach Paul Maurice though says he has a fairly high expectation Scheifele will be fine.