Over at DailyFaceoff, Frank Seravalli provided further details on a story first broken by Elliotte Friedman that Evander Kane could face disciplinary action for his alleged COVID protocol violations, which is giving some of the interested teams yet another reason to second guess bringing him in.
The strangeness of the Evander Kane story continues tonight as news continues to trickle out that the 30-year-old winger could be facing additional suspensions for his alleged COVID protocol violations. Since his release from the San Jose Sharks on Saturday — the NHLPA officially filed a grievance regarding the Sharks’ termination of Kane’s contract on Sunday — it’s been reported here and elsewhere that nearly half the league (or more) is interested in Kane’s services despite the extensive off-ice allegations that have followed him around for years now. However, that number may soon change as teams are learning about new potential hurdles Kane faces with both the NHL and potentially beyond.
From Seravalli’s article:
The initial flurry of interest in forward Evander Kane in the days since becoming an unrestricted free agent on Sunday seems to have cooled in the last 24 hours as teams await further information.
That’s after NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly sent a memo to all 32 general managers on Wednesday, which was obtained by Daily Faceoff, that indicated that Kane could potentially face discipline from the league for violation of COVID-19 protocols over the holiday break.
The memo said that the NHL has “launched an independent investigation into the circumstances pursuant to which Mr. Kane travelled cross-border during the Holiday Period, and whether such travel was conducted in accordance with applicable law both in the U.S. and Canada.”
The memo then said that the investigation should not be long in duration, however, it will depend on the cooperation of Kane and his agent, Dan Milstein, “as well as whether the facts may compel a disciplinary hearing before the Commissioner.”
Kane is still free to sign with any NHL team, but that last line is likely the one that gave interested teams considerable pause.
Seeing as we already know the Oilers are interested and have reached out to Kane’s agent, I wonder how much — if at all — the threat of further discipline will affect their interest in him? Will Ken Holland and his staff continue to walk the road to signing the player knowing that there could be more trouble coming with the league over and above the deserved PR issues that would likely come along with bringing him to town?
Kane, 30, was suspended on Oct. 18 by the NHL for the opening 21 games of the season for “violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 protocols.” That suspension cost Kane nearly $1.8 million in forfeited salary; it was not appealed by Kane through the NHL Players’ Association.
It stands to reason, then, that if Kane is found to have again violated COVID-19 protocols as alleged, that a second and subsequently more harsh suspension could be meted out by commissioner Gary Bettman for further violation of protocols.
Kane reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21 while playing with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. He then allegedly flew to his hometown of Vancouver, B.C., on Dec. 29 without proper medical clearance.
If those allegations are established as fact, it is also possible that Kane could face a criminal investigation for giving false testimony and violating the Canadian federal Quarantine Act.
According to the Government of Canada, no person who tested positive for COVID-19 is permitted to board a “public flight” until “15 days have passed.” The Sharks alleged that Kane traveled eight days after his positive test, in violation with federal law.
Seravalli further explains that “upwards of 16 different teams contacted Milstein about the consistent 30-goal winger since Saturday” but what we don’t know as of right now is how this latest news will affect that number. At this point, we know there are teams interested in bringing Kane in but I do wonder how much that will change as further roadblocks seem to be getting thrown up on a daily basis. Personally, I don’t believe this is a player we should be looking at in any capacity, but as we’ve seen over the last few days, many NHL general managers simply do not agree. Will this latest news make a difference? As always, we wait.