By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane hopes he can set the tone tonight for his team when they take on the Montreal Canadiens at the MTS Centre.
“I think coming into this year, I haven’t made the playoffs in my career and that is frustrating,” said Kane following Tuesday’s pre-game skate. “I have a different mindset and a little bit of a different attitude towards the team and what we need to do and how I need to conduct myself in terms in a leadership role. Setting the tone in terms of my on-ice play and having the guys in the room talk about things we haven’t really in the past can help. There have been a lot of guys that have done that and stepped up.”
Kane has certainly “stepped up” his game to start the season with five points in six games. The former Vancouver Giant star has a plus-three rating on the season and has one game-winning goal to go along with this 30 shots on net.
Kane says he is just doing his job, knowing he is counted on for consistent production night-in and night-out.
“You look at the obvious things…produce offensively – that is my job, that is what I am counting on to do,” said Kane. “I try to be a two way player in terms of the little things like blocking shots, taking hits, getting into my own zone and creating offensive opportunities for myself and my linemates.
“Whatever I can do to help my team on a particular night, whether it is scoring or doing the little things, that is how I judge myself.”
With 15 of his 30 shots this year coming the last two games, Kane is trying to spark his team out of the offensive rut they have found themselves in so far in this young season.
“I think that the games previous (to Sunday) we were chasing the puck and we didn’t have the puck on our sticks so it is tough to get shots or any offensive opportunities,” said Kane. “Last game we had the puck a lot more and had a lot more pucks to the net and better scoring opportunities and quality scoring opportunities in their zone. If you add that up, you are going to get more shots and guys know that I like to shoot the puck so that is going to continue.”
Claude Noel said that Kane can bring up his level of leadership with strong, consistent play on the ice.
“I think Evander can bring the leadership up with his game,” said Noel. “It starts with your game. If you bring consistency to your A-game then you can now have a voice in the (dressing) room, you can have a voice just by the way you play. So I think that is something with Evander that he is expecting more from himself this season and I think he can do that but it will be driven by consistency.
“If he can consistently bring his A-game I think that the leadership just follows.”
The puck drops tonight at 7 p.m. at the MTS Centre.
Check out some of the audio from this morning: