In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors: Evander Kane is again in the headlines, this time for accusing his ex-wife of faking her pregnancy and asking a judge to give her a mental exam. His suspension is set to end soon, and management is reportedly doing the best they can to trade him before his return. Meanwhile, Jonathan Dahlen is dealing with an arm injury, though it doesn’t appear to be major. Finally, Kevin Labanc was suspended by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DoPS) for one game for slew-footing.
More Headlines Surrounding Kane
Kane’s divorce has been ugly. He an ex-wife, Anna, have been sparring in the media, which continued earlier this week. Kane has accused Anna of faking her pregnancy – the baby was reportedly due in February 2022 (from ‘Jenna Lemoncelli: Evander Kane claims wife faked pregnancy as divorce gets uglier,’ New York Post 10/24/21).
Kane has also requested that a judge order Anna to take a mental exam to prove she is fit to care for their one-year-old daughter; he is petitioning for full custody. Amidst all of this, the Sharks’ left-winger is set to return. He has yet to play in 2021-22 after being suspended 21 games for using a fake COVID-19 vaccine card. He has become a huge distraction for the organization, and management is reportedly looking to move him and is willing to retain salary to do so.
“One of the things that I have heard is that the Sharks have let it be known that if somebody is interested, they would retain if a deal could be worked out,” said Elliotte Friedman on the Jeff Marek Show. “I don’t know who’s going to trade for him right now. I just don’t know where that is at this particular point time or even if that’s realistic.”
There were reports this offseason that a few Sharks players are not overly fond of Kane and don’t want him back in the locker room. Unfortunately, management may not be able to do much about it as it will be very hard to move him and his contract, which has four years remaining with a $7 million cap hit.
Dahlen Injury Update
Dahlen has had a bit of a setback after a very good start to his rookie season. He missed both Monday and Wednesday’s games after being injured against the Washington Capitals. The good news is that his arm injury doesn’t appear to be serious, and he is expected back soon (from ‘Curtis Pashelka: Sharks’ Dahlen out for game vs. Senators, could miss rest of homestand,’ Mercury News 10/23/21).
Dahlen, 23, has been one of the Sharks’ most pleasant surprises this season, with seven goals and nine points in 16 games. The move they made to acquire him from the Vancouver Canucks three seasons ago was a very good one.
The DoPS suspended Labanc for one game after he slew-footed St. Louis Blues forward Tyler Bozak and was unavailable for Saturday’s game versus the Capitals. It was definitely a slew-foot, but the decision to suspend him is questionable given that the New Jersey Devils’ P.K.Subban has had several similar incidents, and he’s been fined but not forced to miss any games.
It hasn’t been the best start for Labanc, who has just three goals and six points through 13 games in 2021-22. If the Sharks have any shot at making the playoffs, they need him to play as he did in 2018-19 when he set a career-high in points with 56.
Up Next for the Sharks
The Sharks have two games remaining to finish off the week. The first will be a very difficult matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who, after a slow start to the season, are rolling as of late. They will then take on the Chicago Blackhawks – who have won five of their last seven – on Sunday.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.