NHL Player Safety has announced a hearing for San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane today following last night’s game misconduct penalty for his cross check to the face of Vegas Golden Knights forward Pierre Edouard Bellemare.
In case you missed the play in question… it’s ugly. Facing a 7-0 deficit in the third period in Game 1 of the teams’ second round playoff series, Kane purposefully went after Bellemare and stuck him in the mouth with a cross check up high.
Check it out:
Unprovoked. Uncalled for. Just a really, REALLY careless play by a clearly frustrated Kane. The ugly play earned Kane a five minute major and a game ejection. With today’s announcement from the NHL, there’s a very good chance that Kane just took himself out of the lineup for Game 2.
The irony of it is that Kane was one of the few Sharks players who actually came to play last night. The team’s deadline day prize had several strong plays toward the Vegas net but he was thwarted by goaltender Marc Andre Fleury, who picked up his third shutout in just his fifth game this postseason. Fleury now has a remarkable 0.54 goals against average and .982 save percentage to lead all post season goaltenders.
Kane met with the media following last night’s game and attempted to defend himself saying, "Obviously there was no intent...Glad he wasn't hurt on the play, good to see him back on the ice.”
Whether or not Kane’s lack of intent, as he puts it, factors into the league’s decision making regarding the nature and severity of his punishment remains to be seen. Early speculation amongst fans and analysts seems to be that he’ll be forced to sit out at least one game with a suspension… possibly two.
Ouch. You’ve got to feel for Sharks fans. Not only did their team get absolutely demolished by the Golden Knights in Game 1, but now they stand to lose their best player for Game 2 and beyond. Talk about a rough start…
What do you think is fair? A game? Two? Or maybe just a fine?