Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane was a healthy scratch for their game in Vancouver on Tuesday night for what was said to be a "coach's decision."
Given the importance of the game, Kane's status as one of the best players on the team, and the fact the game was being played in his hometown, it would have been easy to assume that whatever he did was pretty significant to have earned him a seat in the press box.
As it turns out, it was reportedly a dress code violation.
From Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press.
Kane’s transgression on Tuesday, as it turns out, was fairly minor. He broke dress code, arriving at the rink for a midday team meeting in sweats instead of a suit. By gametime, Kane wasn’t a player.
Jets coach Paul Maurice scratched Kane from the lineup and after the game called it a coach’s decision. This is the second time Maurice has made Kane a healthy scratch for disciplinary reasons. The coach has rules and he expects his players to follow them and there are few exceptions. The margin of error for a repeat offender such as Kane is thin. So he got benched.
I understand teams have rules for a reason, but wearing sweats to a midday meeting instead of a suit resulting in a benching -- for a huge game! -- sure would seem to be the sign of a far bigger issue between player and team and that more went into this decision. Because if an NHL team in a playoff race benched a top player over something so minor ... that is certainly more than a little odd.
The Jets went on to lose the game in overtime, their fifth loss in a row.
Kane still has three more years after this one remaining on his current contract that pays him $5.25 million per season, and this probably isn't going to make the ongoing trade speculation that has followed Kane and the Jets around for several years go away anytime soon.