Over the past few months, Evander Kane’s middle name has been “Trouble.” He’s walked into several troublesome situations (which have escalated to legal proceedings,) leading to a lot of questions regarding the Buffalo Sabres forward and his future with the team – or if he should even have one.
A variety of accusations – ranging from sexual assault to harassment and trespassing – have been levied against Kaneover the past year. These legal concerns certainly sour Kane’s reputation (which was already quite tarnished,) but more importantly, they have serious potential to make the Sabres organization look bad as well. His actions cast the team’s name into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. (http://sabres.buffalonews.com/2016/08/01/evander-kane-sued-over-december-assault-allegations/)
That is why the Buffalo Sabres need to cut ties with Kane. Their best option is to release him, so as to disassociate themselves with his legal troubles and his problematic persona.
Releasing Kane would leave the Sabres on the hook for $12 million over the next two seasons, but this financial burden is nothing compared to the trouble of having Kane on the team.
This situation has played out before; there will be those who cry out, “But what about Kane as a hockey player? He’s too good to let go!” To those people, I have to say this: Being a hockey player and being a human are not two separate things. On-ice conduct and off-ice conduct are not mutually exclusive, and you can’t separate one side from the other. Yes, Kane had 35 points in 65 games last season. Maybe he’d put up similar numbers this year. But it doesn’t matter. NOT ONE BIT. What he can do on the ice is absolutely irrelevant when you consider what he’s (allegedly) done off the ice. Hockey is just a game.
This is the one move that the Sabres can do instantaneously. A buyout is not an option since the period has closed, and a trade could potentially take weeks – even months, to work out. Releasing Kane is the easiest chance the Sabres have of ridding themselves of his behavioral patterns, and it’s a move they can do as early as right now.
Would having that $12 million on the board for the next two seasons hurt the Sabres financially? Sure, it might sting a little, but by and large Buffalo already has some key players locked up for the next two seasons (and some, even further), including O’Reilly, Okposo, Reinhart and Eichel. Kane isn’t the building block of this Buffalo team, and releasing him wouldn’t be the end-all, be-all to the team’s offensive power. It would, however, be the end to the Sabres having to deal with his off-ice conduct.
As it stands right now, at least publicly, the Sabres haven’t dealt with it much. They did suspend him when he missed practice after the NBA All-Star Game, but that’s where the punishments end. We haven’t seen any actions taken toward Kane as a result of the December allegations or these new charges. There is now a pending lawsuit regarding the December incident, and the Sabres have been silent on the matter. If anything, it seems like the Sabres are largely publicly ignoring the entire situation.
As if the repeated occurrences weren’t enough of a PR nightmare the Sabres’ recently tweeted, wishing Kane a ‘Happy Birthday.’ It makes sense for a team to wish its players well on their birthdays on social media, but this tweet came just one day after Kane was arraigned on harassment charges. It was in bad taste – a viewpoint that’s further supported by the replies to the team’s post. Many of the replies from fans around the league are either blatant rape jokes or question who in their right mind gave the approval for that tweet. Both Buffalo fans and those around the league are already challenging the manner in which the Sabres are dealing with Kane. What they choose to do moving forward can further damage public opinion of the team, but if they do the right thing, they may be able repair their reputation.
It seems like the only public acknowledgment of Kane’s situation came back in June at the NHL Draft. General manager Tim Murray briefly addressed Kane’s legal troubles, saying the team would “deal with it” if the accusations were true. A month and a half later, Kane’s turned himself into police for the Bottom’s Up incident, and he’s been arraigned on the charges. He’ll head back to court on September 9. Currently, he is being sued by the woman involved in the December incident at the Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER for physical battery, however, Kane’s attorney has announced their intent to bring a countersuit for filing false claims.
The only statement from the team has been a two-sentence whisper that was mostly a non-comment on July 22 – almost a month after the Bottom’s Up incident.
When *is* the team going to really deal with this situation? After his court date? After he’s sentenced to jail time or punished in accordance with the charges? When training camp comes around? Never?
The time is now, and the best way to do that at this point is for the Sabres to release Kane. Cut ties with him and allow the organization to start the 2016-2017 season with a clean slate. Twelve million dollars seems like a lot to pay a player who isn’t actually playing for your team, but getting rid of a player with an awful reputation and a lot of legal troubles? That’s priceless.
If you haven't yet, check out our newest show featuring 2 Sabres legends, Don Luce and Craig Muni, as they come on and discuss the new and pretty amazing Fandoozy.com and Don tells us how escaped the freaking KGB with Alexander Mogilny while helping him defect to America to play for Buffalo. AMAZING STORY!