Evander Kane Or Claude Noel: Who Has The Agenda?

That Didn’t Take Long Did It? —

Here we are, a little more than a month into the season, and Evander Kane isn’t feeling the love.  Not from his coach.  Not from the fans.  Not from the scribes.

This time, the guy everyone in Winnipeg loves to hate is being taken to the woodshed for—wait for it—being honest.


Evander Kane    photo by Shawn Coates

Kane was asked a question by news scavengers on Friday morning about his absence from the lineup the other night in Chicago where the Jets soiled the sheets vs. the Blackhawks.  The Jets left winger answered by reporting he was in fine fettle. Said he was prepared to play. Said he wanted to play.  Said he should have played.  Said he was a healthy scratch.  Said he disagreed with coach Claude Noel’s decision to banish him to the press box to feast on popcorn.

Noel, for his part, served up some babblegab about following “protocol” to explain his benching of Kane.

Controversy ensued.  Conspiracy theorists proposed that Kane’s remarks prove he has a personal agenda.  “Aha,” they said, “this must be viewed as further evidence that Kane wants out of Winnipeg.”

Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun, meanwhile, wrote that Kane’s honest answer poured “gasoline” on the sparks of controversy.  He charged Kane with “feeding” a deepening divide between player and coach.  Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press stood before a national TV audience and branded Kane “selfish” and on Twitter said the Jets most dynamic performer’s actions were “distracting and entirely avoidable.”

You got that right, boys.  That’s the way to tell it like it is.  How dare Kane stir the pot scant hours before the lads were to skate on to the freeze at the Little Hockey House on the Prairie to deal with the Nashville Predators?  Clearly, the Jets were completely confounded by this gathering tempest. Why, their minds were so far adrift from the task at hand that they had to settle for laying a 5-0 paddywhacking on the Predators.

So let me say this about all that: If that’s the result of controversy, they should bicker more often.

Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane (9). (Photo by Shawn Coates)

Winnipeg Jets Star Left Winger Evander Kane photo by Shawn Coates

Look, Evander Kane has made a few missteps since the reborn Winnipeg Jets surfaced in the National Hockey League in 2011 but being honest surely is not one of them.  He could have fibbed to reporters.  He could have said his lower-body injury hadn’t healed sufficiently and that Noel was correct in ruling him a no-go in the Toddlin’ Town.  He could have said he’s as happy as a lark and that he and his head coach are best buds. Instead, he provided his version of the truth and now everyone is aware that a rift definitely exists between Kane and Coach Claude.  Just like there was a rift between Alexander Burmistrov and Coach Claude.

Is it just me or does anyone else see a trend here? 

Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: Rather than suggest Kane wants out of Winnipeg, perhaps it’s Noel who wants Kane out of River City.  Chew on that for a minute or two.  Then digest. Is it not possible that it is Noel who has the agenda?  He can talk about following injury “protocol” all he likes, but perhaps he’s had his fill of Kane’s me-first ways.  We know Kane has an ego the size of Transcona, but so does Noel.

Claude Noel

Claude Noel

Whatever the case, it is left for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to serve as peacekeeper or, failing that, do something to end the Hatfields-McCoys situation before he has a Patrick Roy-Mario Tremblay mess on his hands.

Flash back to December of 1995: The Montreal Canadiens were being rag-dolled by the Detroit Red Wings.  The goal lamp behind Roy had been flashing at a frantic rate.  One goal, two goals, three goals…Roy surrendered nine goals before head coach Tremblay summoned a fresh goaltender.  By this time, Roy had first degree burns on the back of his neck from the goal lamp and third-degree anger.  He felt he had been humiliated by his coach so he marched past Tremblay and stopped in front of team president Ronald Corey sitting behind the Habs’ bench.

“This is my last game in Montreal,” the hall-of-fame goalie declared.

It was.

Four days later, Habs general manager Rejean Houle dispatched Roy and team captain Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche in barter for goaltender Jocelyn Thibault and forwards Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko.  Les Canadiens have not won the Stanley Cup since while Roy earned two championships with the Avs.

The Jets, of course, are in no current danger of taking possession of the Stanley Cup with or without Kane in uniform.  The same can be said about Noel behind the bench, though, and I don’t know if River City is big enough for both of their egos (it probably isn’t).  We’ll find out soon enough.

In the meantime, it’s about the media.  Jock journalists are forever squawking about athletes who either refuse to speak to them or feed them fluff and/or fibs.  Well, you can’t have it both ways boys and girls.  You want straight-ahead, honest answers when you ask questions?  Well, Evander Kane gave you one.  Then you dumped on him.  Go figure.



  1. Crazy Scott says

    You obviously missed the scrum interview before the game where Kane was answering questions all childish like. He is selfish and self centered! I’ve said that from the beginning. he’s got lots of talent but he lacks a lot of maturity. He is becoming a cancer on and off the ice already for this team.

    • Patti Dawn Swansson says

      I’m not sure how you determine that I obviously missed the pre-game scrum, but I assure you I did, indeed, see it. That’s how I know what Kane said.
      I didn’t detect anything childish about it, though, other than he was tweaking the media. Nothing wrong with that.
      Claude Noel, on the other hand, comes across as a condescending know-it-all.
      Pick your poison.
      I’ll take Kane over Noel anytime.

  2. Darryl Manchulenko says

    Nice article. The funny part is regardless of what Kane or Noel said it highlights the point that Noel is not well liked. So the scribes can complain all they want about what Kane should have said they are missing the point completely.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Exactly Darryl … why wouldn’t the media address the elephant in the room? Ask the question that needs to be asked … although I think they all know the answer and it’s probably “off the record” Where’s Michael Landsberg when you need him?

      • Patti Dawn Swansson says

        The mainstream media won’t address it because they don’t want to lose access to players, coaches, etc.

  3. Patti Dawn Swansson says

    Yes, they are. They’re always in a rush to condemn Kane, but I can’t recall reading anything from the mainstream media about Noel’s work this season. He’s not been held accountable.
    Noel has chased one kid back to Russia and now he’s working on getting another young guy out of town. If you were to give all the Jets truth serum, I’m sure you’d discover that Noel is not their idea of an ideal coach.

  4. Crazy Scott says

    Believe me I’d love to see Noel go! But Kane needs to grow up. Yes he was childish during the pre game or post practice skate. He was rolling his eyes pssssss’ing and talking in a tone that he’s above the coach. Kane really needs to grow up!

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