EDMONTON, Alta. — After lifting Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes’ stick and stealing the puck in the neutral zone late in Wednesday’s season opener, the Oilers forward Evander Kane found himself with a golden opportunity to start his goal early for the new season by putting the puck in the empty net.
But he did not do it.
Instead, the winger had the presence of mind and sacrifice to know that Connor McDavidwho sat on two bases for the evening, was with him on the rush.
Kane could have fired his backhand with Hughes behind him chasing him, a game he is more than capable of finishing, but he kept his head held high and dropped it to his startled captain who quickly got on. in the open cage for his 11th career hat trick.
Video: [email protected]: McDavid scores an empty net for a hat trick
“I like to keep him on his toes,” Kane joked.
“I’ve been there a long time, so I recognized the situation of the game, which is there, and I thought he was a very good player,” Kane said. “So if I put it in his neighborhood, he’ll put it. It’s nice to see him get a hat trick.
A grateful point to his linemate and a few words of thanks on the ice followed before McDavid showed plenty of passing appreciation in his postgame comments.
“It was a great game from Kaner,” McDavid said. “It’s not fun to be zero (points) so there was definitely a chance for him to come out of zero and it was a selfless game for sure. I really appreciate that.”
Video: RAW | Evander Kane 10.13.22
Players with a goal-scoring pension always want to get off to a quick start, especially one who is trying to bring his output from 37 goals in 58 regular season and postseason games last campaign into a new year, but sometimes sets good karma early on can go a long way over another long campaign.
“Everyone wants to score goals at the start of the season, not just goalscorers,” he said. Derek Ryan said. “So I think that speaks to him a lot. He was obviously aware of who was with him there and the situation, and I think that speaks to his awareness and willingness to give up something like that for a teammate. Getting that first goal on an empty net would be pretty cool sometimes, so it’s a big sacrifice for him.”
It may have been a simple gesture from Kane, but head coach Jay Woodcroft emphasized in his press conference Thursday morning how encouraging these types of selfless plays can be for an entire locker room.
Video: RAW | Jay Woodcroft 10.13.22
“I heard Connor’s interview afterwards and he used the word selfless,” Woodcroft said. “I think Kaner was on the ice at the last minute and a half there for a reason. This group came out and did their job. Darnell made a great play on the face-off. recognized that Connor was available and he found him to be a great teammate.
“I think that’s a positive sign. I’m glad you (the media) understood that. That’s one of the things sometimes coaches pick up and show on video and stuff like that. But I thought that it was positive. Obviously a selfless act.”
We’re just one game away from an 82-game season, in which Kane is sure to benefit from a few (or dozens) of McDavid streams and leave his mark in the first year of a contract. three years after breaking into Oil Country as a midseason signing in late January.
Hopefully the act is reciprocal.
“The type of player probably isn’t,” Kane joked. “I’m sure he will.”