Evander Kane was ejected from the Sharks’ final preseason game for abuse of officials after shoving a linesman. Now he faces the possibility of missing San Jose’s season opener.
Kane was involved with Vegas blueliner Deryk Engelland 7:09 into the third period of Sunday’s game. Kane hit Engelland along the boards. The Golden Knights defenseman grabbed Kane’s stick as he fell to the ice, trying to draw a penalty. The two players were separated by linesman Kiel Murchison. As they skated apart, Engelland headed back toward Kane, cross-checking him in the side. Kane retaliated with a slash that appeared to catch Murchison. When Kane turned to head up ice, Murchison – anticipating another altercation – stepped in, knocking Kane to the ice. As the two got back to their skates, Kane attempted to pull free, then shoved the linesman.
“I was just skating up the ice, whistle went, minding my own business and next thing you know I get driven into the ice by one of the officials, for doing nothing,” said Kane. “I wasn’t even engaged with one of their players. Explain that to me, how I get kicked out of the game for that? Baffling.”
Kane was immediately given the gate, picking up a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct for abuse of officials.
40.1 Game Misconduct – Any player who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official, in any manner attempts to injure an official, physically demeans, or deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall receive a game misconduct penalty.
In addition, since the abuse of officials penalty was called during the game, Kane is automatically subject to suspension.
40.4 Automatic Suspension – Category III – Any player who, by his actions, physically demeans an official or physically threatens an official by (but not limited to) throwing a stick or any other piece of equipment or object at or in the general direction of an official, shooting the puck at or in the general direction of an official, spitting at or in the general direction of an official, or who deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall be suspended for not less than three (3) games.
While Category II offenses include any physical force being applied to an official, the lower offense – Category III – specifically calls out force applied for the purposes of getting free from an official following an altercation.
It’s likely that the prior stick slash – if it did indeed make contact with Murchison – would be viewed as incidental. The shove, though, was direct and intentional.
“I get kicked out of the game for getting jumped from behind by the referee,” Kane said. “I’ve never seen a ref take five strides. If you look at his face he’s getting all his power and he’s trying to drive me into the ice, which is what he did. That’s unbelievable. Talk about abuse of an official? How about abuse of a player? It’s an absolute joke.”
The game was the final preseason tilt for both teams. It was a chippy affair, with the two clubs combining for 114 penalty minutes — 96 of those coming in the third period. Kane led the way with 27 penalty minutes. Sharks defenseman Brendan Dillon followed with 14.
“It’s funny how, if you look at the way I get treated out there when it comes to the scrums or whatever it may be, what the other team’s trying to do to me, there’s a massive difference compared to everybody else on the ice,” Kane said.
Engelland was given a two-minute minor for cross-checking and a 10-minute misconduct. No penalty was called on Kane for the slash.
Following the game, referees Steve Kozari and Gord Dwyer would have, per procedure, discussed the situation with the NHL’s Director of Hockey Operations, then filed a written report regarding the possible suspension. Both teams, Kane, and the NHLPA would receive notification of the officials’ determination on Monday morning. Kane has the option to request a hearing with Commissioner Gary Bettman, who can reduce the length of the suspension, reduce the category of infraction, or uphold the officials’ decision.
Note that, since the officials are involved, this issue will be handled by Hockey Ops rather than the Department of Player Safety.
Kane has been penalized for abuse of officials in the past. Notably, he was ejected from a November 2018 game against the Golden Knights for arguing a call.
The Sharks open the season with a home-and-home against the Golden Knights. They may be doing it without Evander Kane.