The Winnipeg Jets revealed Saturday that the team’s leading scorer, Evander Kane, has a concussion, although the club has no idea how or when he got the injury.
“Evander Kane came to us yesterday with a headache,” coach Claude Noel said Saturday after the Jets’ morning skate in preparation for a game against the Florida Panthers at the MTS Centre.
“We weren’t sure what it was. We’ve had the flu come through a few guys so we sent him home. We wanted to make sure we got an evaluation on him. When we got him evaluated it looks like he has a concussion. He’s feeling better today so what we are doing is we are going to play it day by day and see how he’s doing.”
Kane has been one of Winnipeg’s top players this season with 18 goals and 13 assists. However he has been struggling lately, going without a goal since Dec. 29.
The 20-year old forward plays aggressively and is known to throw his weight around on the ice, frequently crashing into goalies, players and the boards. Given Kane’s tough style of play, “sometimes this is going to be the result,” Noel said. “This is part of what takes place when you are a player that draws attention.”
Noel said he had no idea how Kane incurred the injury. Kane played Thursday in Winnipeg’s home win over the Buffalo Sabres and did not appear to take any usual hits.
“I have no idea which game,” Noel said. “ I have no idea when all this took place. I’m not so sure that he completely knows. I’m not so sure when he was feeling these effects so I really don’t have answers to these questions.”
Noel said he did not know if the club will keep Kane out for a week, which is part of the NHL’s protocol on concussions.
“We don’t know about the seven day thing,” Noel said. “We’re going to assess him here day by day.”
Noel added that while Kane will be a loss, “it’s just part of the game. It’s another injury for me. It’s a fairly grey area and you just don’t know what you are dealing with. That’s the problem. Is it going to be a few days, is it going to be a few weeks? You don’t know.”
The Jets are also still without defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, although he skated with the team for the first time since injuring his knee before Christmas. Byfuglien has been selected for the All-Star Game but he indicated Saturday that he was not sure if he would participate.
The Jets did get back one injured defenceman. Zach Bogosian, who has missed five games, will return for the game against the Florida Panthers.
Winnipeg has a chance to inch closer to the playoff picture with a win over Florida. The Panthers have been reeling lately, losing eight straight road games including a 3-1 loss in Chicago Friday. Florida comes into Winnipeg clinging to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, the final playoff spot, just three points ahead of Winnipeg.