McDavid calls Kane a ‘great player’ but it’s premature to comment on the possibility of him joining the Oilers – Edmonton | The Canadian News

As the COVID-19 virus works its way through the Edmonton Oilers lineup and the pandemic causes several team home games to be postponed, there has been speculation about a possible high-profile addition to the roster and not the impact of coronavirus. at the hockey club captain Connor McDavid was most asked about at a media availability on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers return to Rogers Place for the first time with new COVID-19 restrictions in place

“It’s all speculation right now,” the co-leader of the NHL regular-season scoring race said when asked about the possibility of the team signing Evander Kane, a player known for his scoring ability. goals and value as well as recent criticism for his behavior off the ice.

“Honestly, I don’t think that’s a bridge we need to cross until something is more official,” he said when asked if fans should be concerned about how the Oilers’ locker room and public image might be affected by Kane’s signing. .

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It was speculation about a possible high-profile addition to the roster and not the impact of the coronavirus on the Edmonton Oilers that captain Connor McDavid asked most at a media availability on Wednesday.

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Ever since the San Jose Sharks took steps to try to terminate Kane’s contract this weekend, claiming he once again violated COVID-19 protocols, speculation has been rampant about which team the rugged but skilled winger might sign with. , or if he signs with another NHL. team at all.

When asked about Kane Tuesday, Oilers general manager Ken Holland confirmed he has had discussions with Kane’s agent, saying, “As a manager, it’s my responsibility to look into every situation.”

While Holland didn’t express how much interest the Oilers have in Kane or what their level of interest might be in coming to Alberta, he did say he believes in second chances for people if they take steps to learn from their mistakes and make changes.

Evander Kane, left, of the San Jose Barracuda, skates during hockey practice in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Kane appeared for the San Jose Sharks minor league affiliate for the first time since he turned a suspension for presenting a false COVID-19 vaccination card.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

“Obviously Evander is an amazing player and he’s had a lot of success over the last two years, and whatever else has been going on it’s not something I really look into very much,” McDavid said Wednesday. “Obviously, there is a lot of talk. I’ve talked to Kenny.

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“If the fans don’t like it, the media doesn’t like it or whatever… I think it is what it is… Public opinion is something that obviously matters a lot, but we’re here to try to win games and try to put together a good team on the ice and if Kenny thinks that’s what he can do, then that’s what he can do. I think he has our full support in what he does.”

READ MORE: Evander Kane calls out NHL for inaction against racism, says games should be postponed

During his NHL career, Kane has scored 264 goals and 506 points in 769 regular season games. His sudden change in status as a now free agent comes as the Oilers look to find their footing again in the second half of the season. The team started the year as one of the best in the NHL, but has gone 2-9-2 since Dec. 1.

The Sharks’ decision to terminate Kane’s contract, something the NHL Players Association has said it plans to challenge by filing a complaint, came after the team alleged the 30-year-old violated protocols. from COVID-19 while a member of the club’s farm team. in the American Hockey League.

READ MORE: NHL suspends Evander Kane for 21 games over COVID-19 vaccination status

Kane had been playing in the AHL since serving a 21-game suspension for an infraction related to a false COVID-19 vaccination card. In recent months, Kane has faced accusations of sexual and physical abuse from his ex-wife, who also accused him of gambling on the hockey games he was playing.

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An NHL investigation found no evidence to support the allegations. Kane has denied the allegations made by his estranged wife and apologized for using a fake vaccination card.

READ MORE: Sharks’ Kane denies his wife’s game-fixing allegations

“It’s a situation that I don’t think we should really talk about until something is a little more official,” McDavid said when asked about the potential impact bringing Kane in could have.

McDavid noted that Kane is “a great player and he can help us a lot on the ice.”

Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said that while he is aware of the talks between Holland and Kane’s agent, he would prefer not to discuss the potential addition unless it actually happens.

“I think both parties are still doing their due diligence,” Tippett said. “(Netherlands) mentioned to me yesterday that they are seeing it.

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“I haven’t seen him play this year. I’ve seen him play in the past. He has been a good player. But until everyone does their due diligence, it’s a moot point for me.”

When asked about how Kane may impact the team given the controversies that have arisen during his career, Tippett said it’s too early to discuss that.

FILE – Evander Kane speaks at a news conference after hockey practice in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 30, 2021. The Sharks placed Kane on unconditional waivers on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, with the intention of ending the remainder of his seven-year, $49 million contract.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File

“If we go down the road and become an option for him, then he talks a lot, sees where things go,” he said. “If you think it can help your team, you look at it and see if it can help your team, but we haven’t gotten that far yet, so I’m not going to get into that.

“If it ends up in Edmonton, then you can ask me all those questions.”

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Oilers hold their first practice since the weekend

The Oilers hit the ice Wednesday for the team’s first practice since Saturday. With several home games postponed due to health restrictions limiting attendance capacity at Rogers Place, McDavid said each practice becomes more and more important as the team faces long gaps between actual games.

“I thought practice was good,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s something that’s necessary when we’re only going to play one game in 15 days so… These practices are big for us.

“We have to be tough on each other, as close to a game as possible, and prepare.”

McDavid added that while the unplanned slowdown in the team’s schedule is frustrating, it’s something many other NHL teams have faced due to COVID-19 this season.

“It’s pretty crazy times right now in Canada,” he said. “It’s frustrating, but we follow the rules and we play when they tell us to play.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Oilers Navigating Through COVID-19 Uncertainty'

Edmonton Oilers navigating through the uncertainty of COVID-19

Edmonton Oilers navigating through the uncertainty of COVID-19

“Guys want to get up and get going,” Tippett said, adding that it’s been a challenge navigating the revolving door of Oilers players getting placed and then emerging from COVID-19 protocols. “You’re just trying to put things together the best you can to get to Saturday.

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“Today the guys worked very hard… There are times when you need to rest (but) there are times when you have to stay in shape.”

Tippett noted that “surprisingly, the mood has been really good” even though the fifth wave of the pandemic hit the team and its players.

McDavid himself recently spent time on the COVID-19 protocols.

“I was in a little bit of pain and then I just had a stuffy nose. Nothing too crazy. I feel good now,” he said Wednesday. “Obviously I’m not looking to get COVID (-19), but it’s almost like a mental break when you come off the protocol because you don’t have to get tested anymore.

“It’s exhausting to sit and wait for the test result… You’re trying to get ready for the game, but you don’t know if you’re going to play.

“It’s been a crazy time and I think our doctors and medical team have done a good job of handling it, and it’s more stressful for them than anyone. They’ve done an amazing job and we’re just trying to get through this.”

The Oilers will play the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Tippett said several Oilers who are still on COVID-19 protocols may rejoin the team before then, depending on how testing goes.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland thinks the team will trade him

He said he thinks the team will be able to turn things around and get their season back on track once more games start being played.

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“I think we’re going to make this work the right way and be a better team,” he said of the Oilers’ struggles in recent weeks. “But it’s a challenge… just finding that win.

“Ultimately, I think this is the adversity that is pushing our game to be better.”

Tippett noted that early in the season, the team’s power play was “really driving us”.

“We were getting over a lot of our mistakes,” he said. “Funny how it works out because there are good bits of our 5v5 play that I think are better than earlier in the year, but our special teams are down a little bit and we can’t find that. extra goal we need, and that’s what it’s all about.

“You have to find a way to win those games… We have to start winning some games 2-1, 3-2.”

630 CHED will broadcast the Oilers vs. Senators game on Saturday night, beginning with The spectacle of confrontation at 6:30 p.m. The disk drops at 8 p.m.

–With files from Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

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