On Thursday, the San Jose Sharks found out all they wanted to know regarding the Vegas Golden Knights in a 7-0 loss in Game 1. Adding to their pain could be a looming suspension for star Evander Kane.
We’re talking about this again, guys? In the first round of these NHL playoffs, we saw a lot of awesome moments. We also saw a lot of plays that have no place in the game of hockey. Most of those (not all, unfortunately) resulted in suspensions.
Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs was suspended three games after a completely unnecessary hit on the Boston Bruins’ Tommy Wingels. The Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty clocked a dude in the head and was gone for a game, then Josh Morrissey cross-checked another in the head and was also gone a lone game. Now, San Jose Sharks star Evander Kane has cross-checked Vegas Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the face.
To be honest, we’re beyond wondering why a player would even do that at this point. Kane is looking directly at Bellemare while he tries to use his face like a cheese grater. The refs are standing three feet away. Did that at any time seem like a novel idea?
Aside from the fact that it’s (clearly) not good hockey sense to cross-check another player in the teeth, this is going to cost San Jose dearly. The Sharks acquired the young Kane at the trade deadline and he was a huge part of their success towards the playoffs, scoring 14 points in 17 games for them. Kane also had three goals and four points in their sweep of Anaheim.
Considering nobody can score on Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury right now, this might be an immediate death knell for the Sharks. Fleury hasn’t let down the drawbridge for any goals to pass in two games. His goals against average is also a winter temperature (0.54). The save percentage in five games? An impossible .982.
Losing Kane for even one game should send San Jose in to panic mode. Then again, Kane came with the potential for this to happen. He is an incredible talent with a questionable head on his shoulders. The Sharks grabbed the bait, but this one may have come back to bite them.