Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane may have ignited a fire for fans and media with his comments regarding his desire to play for the Jets earlier this week, but GM Kevin Cheveldayoff refused to add fuel to it Friday when he addressed media Friday following the conclusion of the team’s annual development camp.
“It’s a very difficult time right now in hockey,” said Cheveldayoff. “You’ve got the draft, you got all the different things [like] free agency that comes up and there’s rumours that abound each and every day that send everyone into different directions.
“I can only imagine as a player what goes through your mind when you hear so-and-so is being traded or different things like that. It’s got to be difficult. They’re all professional hockey players and they’re all subject to those types of things.
“And even when you have your general manager like I’ve been saying, I’m open to look to see if there’s ways to make improvements on the team and without signalling out any individual, I think everyone starts to wonder what’s going on.”
Controversy sparked after Kane refused to give a definitive answer to a Vancouver radio station when asked whether he wanted to be a member of the Winnipeg Jets.
“With specific reference to Evander, the situation where he was asked those questions I think he’s been asked those kind of questions year after year after year since he’s been here and certainly since the time that he signed his contract,” added the Jets GM. “Evander’s a Winnipeg Jet and what I took from his comments there was that he’s excited about being healthy and training this summer and really looking forward to having a solid summer of training. He had some minor surgery last year that derailed some of the training side of things."
Cheveldayoff takes cue from Kane
Cheveldayoff took a page from Kane’s book, refusing to give a yes or no to the question of whether he would have liked Kane to just come out and say yes in his interview.
“You look at situations and circumstances that surround it,” he started. “If your name was brought up with rumours each and every day, you’d have to maybe start and wonder where things are at. Evander is a professional and I expect that when he comes here for training camp that he’s going to be at the peak of his performance.”
So has Kane ever asked for a trade?
“I have lots of conversations with lots of players all the time and certainly when you’re behind closed doors and having conversations, be it with a coach, be it with a manager, be it with a trainer, lots of things are said or not said and those stay in house,” said Cheveldayoff.
“But the hard part about questions like that…I respond to it, that that’s an unfair question. Well, what I mean by that is if I answer every question or every rumour or every speculation that the player may or may not have asked or may or may not have said something, I’d be answering those all day long. Evander Kane is a Winnipeg Jet and that’s how we’ll be moving forward.”