Social media is a wonderful thing for NHL fans, especially over the off-season. It’s the fastest source for trades, re-signings, and especially signings of unrestricted free agents after July 1st. Unfortunately, it’s also the fastest source for unsubstantiated rumors that tend to freak out fanbases. This off-season is the first of those for Winnipeg Jets fans, and aside from the happy news about Jim Slater’s re-signing, they get to deal with rumors that their leading scorer wants out. Evander Kane netted 30 goals this year, and he also accumulated quite a bit of negative publicity from rumors regarding his nightlife. I advocated people to stop fixating on him back in February because hey, he’s a 20 year old talent in a city who takes more note than Kane’s previous stop in Atlanta.
That reputation that he got from the rumors circulating around him earlier this year seems to have people believing the latest rumor a little too quickly. RDS’s Renaud Lavoie tweeted yesterday that a Jets player mentioned to him that Kane wanted to try to force Winnipeg’s hand for a deal out of town. Needless to say, the previous blow to Kane’s reputation combined with this latest rumor has given in validity in many noggins. Coach Claude Noel dared to hold Kane responsible on-ice for his play… would that make Kane a malcontent? Not if he’s a professional. He’s 20, he has a lot to learn, and that’s the coach’s job. But if he has enough attitude to not pay for meals, well then, he has enough to want out because of the coaching staff!
The problem with that assumption is thinking that the previous rumors are true. 99.99% of Jets fans don’t know that, just like that same percentage don’t know if Kane wants out. If he does, the Jets are going to get one hell of a return on a trade. If he doesn’t, well, the Jets get to keep one of the best young goal scorers in the game. The trick for Jets fans is to not let one unsubstantiated rumor sully their opinion of Kane, and to make sure that it doesn’t make them upset about their team’s reputation. That can happen easily — no one wants their best player to demand to leave a team, regardless of the reason. It feels like a personal slight. I wouldn’t be shocked, though, that there’s no personal slight intended here, or even no slight at all. Kane more than likely wants to stay put, and even if he doesn’t fans shouldn’t base their opinion of a player on an unsubstantiated tweet.