Can you believe all the nothing that’s happening?
I’m not going to lie: it’s difficult to write about hockey when there’s no hockey happening. In the dog days of the off-season, when there isn’t even anything hockey-related happening, it’s even harder. During the lockout a few years back, it got so bad that I ended up writing weird fan-fiction about NHL mascots and the Guardian Project and critiquing the titles of hockey romance novels.
Things haven’t gone that far off the rails this off-season, but all the Canucks talk this week has been dominated by a player that isn’t even a Canuck: Evander Kane.
Kane isn’t even rumoured to be on his way out of Buffalo. None of the reporters talking about Kane say they have sources suggesting the Sabres want to trade him; they’re just assuming they do.
Sure, it seems like a safe assumption. All of the assorted sordid rumours surrounding Kane have culminated in actual, legitimate legal trouble, as he turned himself into police last week in connection with charges from an incident at a Buffalo bar in June. Why wouldn’t the Sabres want to rid themselves of such a headache?
But it’s still an assumption. All sorts of teams put up with all sorts of things and Evander Kane is still the best goalscorer the Sabres have. Does it say something about our society that we’re willing to excuse almost anything as long as a person can play sports well? Probably.
In any case, all the articles wondering where Kane will get traded to are built on an assumption and articles about whether the Canucks specifically will trade for him are built on another assumption: that the Canucks want him.
Ben Kuzma made both those assumptions and it’s understandable why: Kane scores goals; the Canucks don’t.
(There is also another assumption common to all of these articles: that Kane is guilty of something and needs to make a drastic change or his career or possibly even his life is in jeopardy)
There’s nothing wrong with idle speculation, as long as it’s clear that’s all it is. The Canucks may or may not be interested in Kane. Personally, I doubt they’re too interested. We’re talking about an organization that got upset when Jake Virtanen hung out with Justin Bieber for one night. The Canucks are deathly allergic to swagger, even in its most mild, most Bieberish form.
But to save you the trouble of reading more and more idle speculation, here are the pros and cons of acquiring Kane:
- Pro: Evander Kane is good at hockey.
- Con: He’s facing off-ice legal issues and has been accused of sexual assault.
- Pro: Innocent until proven guilty.
- Con: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
- Pro: But seriously, he’s good at hockey.
- Con: But seriously, being good at hockey is significantly less serious than assault and harassment.
- Pro: Playing in his hometown with his family nearby will keep him on the straight and narrow.
- Con: Playing in his hometown will place him under extra scrutiny and he might crack under the pressure.
- Pro: He’ll be cheap to acquire because of his off-ice issues.
- Con: Kane’s off-ice issues didn’t suddenly turn Tim Murray into an idiot. He’s not going to trade Kane for Luca Sbisa.
Basically, we have no idea if it would be a good idea for the Canucks to trade for Kane. We have no idea if they even want to trade for Kane. Heck, we have no idea if the Sabres want to trade Kane. We have no idea if he’s guilty or innocent of his charges. We have no idea in general.
Can we please stop pretending like we have an idea?