Giants lament loss of Kane
A wonky ankle could bench the league's leading scorer
Steve Ewen, The Province
Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Evander Kane's scoring streak is intact. His consecutive game string is in jeopardy, apparently.
Kane, the Vancouver Giants' sniper currently riding a WHL season-best 21-game point streak, showed up at their Ladner practice facility Tuesday on crutches and didn't skate with the team in their afternoon session.
Coach Don Hay says that Kane has a doctor's appointment for his wonky ankle this morning and the bench boss is listing him as doubtful for tonight's match-up with the Chilliwack Bruins at the Pacific Coliseum (7 p.m. CISL 650).
Bruins' defenceman Carter Berg (6) clatters Giants' left winger Evander Kane during an exhibition game on Sept. 12.
Nick Procaylo, The Province
"It's not getting better," Hay lamented last night of Kane, who has 37 points, including 15 goals, for 17-1-0-3 Vancouver.
"You run into injuries through the year. There's never a good time for injuries.
"If Evander can't play, then somebody else will get a chance."
Kane, who remained the WHL's leading scorer going into league action Tuesday evening, was hurt when he crashed into the boards in Friday's 5-3 win over the Kelowna Rockets.
He missed a few shifts, but finished the game. He practised Saturday with considerable jump, but limped into the rink prior to Sunday's visit from the Portland Winter Hawks and was listed by Hay as a question mark prior to the warm-up.
Kane played in the 5-2 triumph, but didn't seem to be as mobile as normal. He was held off the scoresheet until he fought off a Portland defenceman at centre ice and went in for an empty-net breakaway goal with 21.2 seconds remaining.
If he doesn't go, it's hard to guess who the Giants might put out with star centre Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Mike Piluso was playing the right side with Pierro-Zabotel and Kane for most of this season, but he was healthy scratch Sunday. He had no points in the previous five games and just one point in his past eight. Craig Cunningham took his spot on the top line Sunday.
"We thought he wasn't playing as well he needed to play," Hay said of Piluso, who has eight goals and 13 points in 20 games. "We wanted him to watch a game and see where he could get better."
One guy who could get a bump up in ice time regardless of who is in the line-up for Vancouver tonight is winger Todd Kennedy, considering he's coming off his best performance of the season Sunday. An early season trade pick-up from the Regina Pats, it's taken Kennedy some time to look comfortable in Hay's stringent, structured system.
Kennedy was strong on the forecheck, diligent defensively and even had a couple of scoring chances early on Sunday and was rewarded with a more regular shift by Hay.
Kennedy, all 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds of him, is Vancouver's toughest player, and this could
be a physical affair tonight, considering that emotions were running high at the end of Vancouver's last meeting with Chilliwack. That game ended with a 3-2 Bruins decision on Remembrance Day, and stands up as Vancouver's lone regulation loss this season.
For instance, Chilliwack pest David Robinson bumped Vancouver goalie Tyson Sexsmith with 4:30 to go, prompting Vancouver rearguard Jon Blum to take a roughing penalty. And the normally low-key Pierro-Zabotel was chasing after Robinson at the final whistle.
"They were in our face and trying to get under our skin, but it's part of the game and you have to play through it," said Blum.
Kennedy missed that game as part of a two-game suspension for a boarding major.
© The Vancouver Province 2008