As Evander Kane’s ban nears an end, Sharks coach says playing right away is ‘not realistic’

SAN JOSE – The Sharks only have a few more days to decide — or announce — how they want to handle Evander Kane’s potential return to the organization after his 21-game suspension comes to an end.

According to Sharks coach Bob Boughner, though, inserting Kane back into the lineup right away is not an option.

Kane did not participate in training camp and hasn’t practiced with the team all season. Two days after the season started, Kane was suspended for violating the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocol, extending his time away from the team on the ice to over two months.

Kane’s suspension officially ends after the Sharks play the Blackhawks in Chicago on Saturday, and general manager Doug Wilson hasn’t given any indication as to how he plans to handle the situation. The Sharks’ first game after Saturday is Monday in New Jersey against the Devils.

Having Kane play right away, though, is “not realistic,” Boughner said.

“That’s why players come to camp,” Boughner said Wednesday morning before the Sharks host the Ottawa Senators. “It’s a couple-week process where you play preseason games and play inter-squad games, you get body contact, you get pushed around and that’s really what the next phase of the training would be.

“As far as I know, that hasn’t happened. So, realistic? No.”

Per the NHL and NHLPA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a player has to give consent if the club wishes to have him start a conditioning loan with its minor league team. Any conditioning loan could not last for more than 14 days, per the CBA.

In 2018, Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals spent 16 games away after a suspension but did not play any AHL games before his return to the NHL.

Wilson was suspended for 20 games by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis forward Oskar Sundqvist in a Sept. 2018 preseason game. But Wilson had his suspension reduced to 14 games by an independent arbitrator, and by the time the arbitration process was complete, Wilson had already served 16 games. He immediately returned to the Capitals’ lineup, but he at least had the benefit of a training camp.

In Jan. 2019, Austin Watson, then with the Nashville Predators, was suspended indefinitely without pay as part of the NHL’s substance abuse program. Watson, now in his second season with the Senators, did not practice with the team for over two months as he missed 27 games. He played in two AHL games before he returned to Nashville’s lineup in April.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – MAY 3: San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl (48) is congratulated by San Jose Sharks’ Evander Kane (9) on his goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, May 3, 2021. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

Kane, 30, has never played an AHL game and it is unclear if will do so next month.

The Barracuda, after its game Saturday in Ontario, is not scheduled to play again until Dec. 4 in Abbotsford. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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