Off the Top of My Head: Evander Kane back on the ice, remembering Rick Jeanneret, and more
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
Evander Kane said this week he’s back on the ice and back in the gym and expects to be healthy and ready to go when training camp opens. That, to borrow from Captain Obvious, is nothing but good news for the Edmonton Oilers and fans of the team.
Kane, 32, had his left wrist sliced open by the skate of Patrick Maroon in a game against the Tampa Lightning Nov. 8 and then underwent surgery to repair the damage. While he got back into the line-up Jan. 17 vs. Seattle and played 27 games to end the season and 12 more in the playoffs, he wasn’t close to 100 per cent.
Aside from dealing with the wrist, Kane played after breaking some ribs in February and he finished up the post-season playing with a broken finger. He was healthy enough to be in the line-up, but the physical edge we’re used to seeing wasn’t there.
We’ve seen clips of Kane playing beer league hockey around Edmonton as part of a busy off-season schedule that’s included a lot of time spent with cancer patient Cecily Eklund and on several other charitable causes. There’s no question that having time to heal up has Kane ready to get going full-tilt again.
“The body’s feeling good now. I’ve got some rest,” Kane told Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer Friday. “I’m back on the ice and I’m back in the gym, so we’ll be ready to go come training camp and Game 1 of the regular season.”
ANOTHER GREAT ONE GONE
You have to be of a certain vintage to remember many of Rick Jeanneret’s greatest calls during the 51 years he spent on the mic with the Buffalo Sabres, but once you heard him describe a great goal or a ferocious fight, you never forgot it.
Jeanneret, who called Buffalo games on the radio and TV from 1971-72 until he retired after the 2021-22 season, passed away at the age of 81 Thursday. Jeanneret was a beloved figure in Buffalo, which was obvious to visiting media because he was one of those welcoming people on the road. Simply put, Jeanneret wasn’t just a terrific broadcaster — awarded the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2012 – he was a helluva guy.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, his “May Day” call of Brad May’s overtime winner or one of his many calls of a Pat Lafontaine goal probably does. Jeanneret delivered some over-the-top stuff and it was terrific. RJ also called a fight better than just about anyone I have ever heard — one of those calls had ties to the Oilers.
I’m talking about Georges Laraque’s dismantling of Rob Ray in Buffalo in March 1999, a tilt that was set up when Ray turned down Laraque during a game in Edmonton a week earlier before he roughed up Oilers’ captain Doug Weight. Then came the rematch. The masterful part of Jeanneret’s call on the radio was he made it sound like a toe-to-toe slugfest. The video shows Laraque throwing 15 or 16 punches to Ray’s two or three.
This tweet by former Oiler and Buffalo native Todd Marchant in the wake of Jeanneret’s passing speaks to the regard in which he was held. And this sign-off by Jeanneret is a snapshot of grace and humility that will stick with me always. What a beauty RJ was and what a career he had. RIP.
THIS BOA MATTERS
While we won’t know what the 2023-24 on-ice edition of the Battle of Alberta will look like until the puck drops this season, the Oilers and Calgary Flames got after it on the golf course last week by raising $770,000 during a two-day tournament in support of the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre in Red Deer.
Thirty players from the Oilers and Flames — Lanny MacDonald, Grant Fuhr, Louie Debrusk, Kyle Brodziak, Stuart Skinner, Dillon Dube and Sheldon Kennedy, to name just seven – teed it up. The fund-raiser included a reception and auctions.
Funds raised are in support of the new CACAC in Red Deer to benefit and support children dealing with child abuse. Say what you want about these teams, there’s a lot of important work like this being done. A tip of the cap to everyone involved.
AND . . .
We keep hearing rumors about the possibility of a third tour of duty in Edmonton for Sam Gagner and we’re also led to believe the Oilers are close to coming to terms on a bridge deal with Evan Bouchard. Neither of which is anything new. My best guess is we get something on Bouchard this week. Gagner? I don’t know.
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