Oilers Clean Up Messy COVID-19 Spill, Sign Evander Kane

Oilers Clean Up Messy COVID-19 Spill, Sign Evander Kane

Former San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane will appear in his first NHL game of the season on Saturday, after Kane’s agent officially announced that his client had signed with the Edmonton Oilers. 

Official: Evander Kane Agrees to contract terms with Edmonton Oilers for the rest of 2021-2022 season. Will travel to Edmonton this evening. Will wear jersey #91. #WeAreGoldStar! pic.twitter.com/4NitLkIcLF

— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) January 27, 2022

“With Edmonton, look, you’ve got two of the best players in the world here (Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl),” Kane said Friday. “I don’t know if there’s a winger in the League that would say they don’t fit well on either one of those guys’ lines. So for me, it would be an easy fit either way and again, that’s part of what makes it so exciting.”

On Thursday, the NHL concluded its investigation of Kane’s cross-border travel during the Holiday Period, a violation of AHL [American Hockey League] rules. Kane was sent down to the Sharks AHL affiliate in November, and was placed on unconditional waivers with intent to terminate his contract for violating COVID-19 protocols. The league found insufficient evidence to “conclusively find that Mr. Kane knowingly made misrepresentations regarding his COVID-19 status or test results in connection with his international travel.” 

Kane was suspended by San Jose in October for reportedly submitting a fake vaccination card, and has yet to play a game in the 2021-2022 NHL season. 

“I’ve said this before, management’s done a really good job of limiting the distractions from the players and the staff,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said following the news. “This announcement today is just another example of that. We like what we have in our room, I think we’ve created a pretty good family atmosphere and culture and we’re going to continue to do that.”

“This sort of now puts this behind us a little bit. Not that it was a big subject in our room to begin with, but it’s nice we’re moving on and we’re focusing on our jobs,” Boughner continued. 

Kane was sent down to the Sharks AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, on November 29 following Kane’s completion of a 21-game suspension. 

In January, San Jose placed Kane on unconditional waivers with the intent of terminating his contract with the club for violating AHL COVID-19 protocols. 

“The San Jose Sharks have informed Evander Kane that he has been placed on unconditional waivers with intent to terminate his contract for breach of his NHL Standard Player Contract and for violation of the AHL COVID-19 protocol,” San Jose said in a statement. “The Club will have no further comment on this matter.” 

The NHLPA [National Hockey League Players Association] put out a statement on Twitter saying they would be filing a grievance. 

“We are aware of the San Jose Sharks’ stated intent to terminate Evander Kane’s contract,” the NHLPA said. “The NHLPA intends to challenge any such action by filing a grievance.”

Kane’s agent, Dan Milstein, also put out a statement.

“We are aware of the Sharks’ decision to put Evander on waivers for contract termination,” Milstein said on Twitter. “If he clears, we will file a grievance. The Sharks do not have sufficient grounds for taking this action.”

While the NHL has not mandated the vaccine for its players, it is heavily encouraged, and the protocols for the unvaccinated are much stricter than for those who have received the vaccine. 

The NHL allows teams to suspend unvaccinated players who are “unable to participate in club activities” due to testing positive for COVID-19. Unvaccinated players are only allowed at the team hotel, practice facility, and arena and are not allowed to patronize bars and restaurants.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected]

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