A major life event and a major hockey event have defined the past week for Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane.
On May 25, his girlfriend gave birth to their son. On May 26, he helped the Oilers win the first post-season Battle of Alberta in 31 years.
“It’s been awesome. Big week for my family — having my son. It’s obviously been great with the team success we’re having to couple those two things,” said Kane. “It’s been a real enjoyable last couple of weeks. We just want to do everything in our power to keep this thing going.”
Kane and his girlfriend decided to name their son Iverson Frank. Allen Iverson is Kane’s favourite basketball player of all time.
“I find boys’ names really tough to come up with. You want something a little different, a little unique, not super generic,” explained Kane.
In 12 playoff games with the Oilers, Kane has 15 points. He has two hat tricks, becoming the first Oiler since Jari Kurri in 1985 to have multiple hat tricks in the same post-season.
“He understands that this a special team that we have and a special opportunity,” said head coach Jay Woodcroft. “I see someone who keeps getting better. He’s not just defined by his scoring statistics. He does a lot of really good things on the ice for us and is an important member of our team.”
The Oilers flew to Denver on Sunday. Denver is about 1,600 metres above sea level so the thinner air can make it tougher on visiting athletes.
“I remember my first time playing there and hearing about it. Quickly, I found out it’s pretty accurate. It does take a little bit of time to get adjusted to. That might have been just because it was my first game there,” recalled Kane.
“You feel it a little bit. I think it’s important to have short shifts, especially in the first period, to get things going. We’ll be there a couple days early so it shouldn’t be any of an issue.”
“I think guys are used to that now. We were just up in Calgary. It’s just part-and-parcel when you go in to play the Avalanche, that’s one of the things you’re dealing with,” said Woodcroft.
Calgary is about 1,050 metres above sea level while Edmonton is 650 metres.
Catch Game 1 of the West Final on 630 CHED Tuesday. The Face-off Show is at 4 p.m. The game starts at 6 p.m.