Oilers coach Knoblauch behind the bench.
Photo credit: Global News

Oilers coach Knoblauch doubles down on decision with Kane

Published January 13, 2024 at 3:00 PM
Evander Kane has had a rollercoaster of a season so far, with hat-trick highs and healthy scratch lows. He's struggled to find his game again recently, and has been sitting on the third line under new coach, Kris Knoblauch. Despite the sheltered minutes he is receiving now, Knoblauch still seems to believe that he can get back to form sooner rather than later.

In the interview, Knoblauch explained his decision to reduce Kane's minutes.

When I first got here, the first two or three weeks, he might have been our best player. He was physical, good defensively, just dictating the pace of the game. And then unfortunately, there were some issues with his health.

He was battling injuries, missing practice time and his game just wasn't what it should have been. Obviously he's a very good hockey player, and we're going to rely on him quite a bit. He's not playing his best right now. But he's getting healthier, so he's getting better.

This is very positive to hear both for fans, and for Kane himself. Knowing that your coach is looking for excuses to move you up in the lineup is a good motivator for players to try and pick up their play. Hockey is a much more mental game than it outwardly appears, so if Kane knows his coach is backing him he could get some confidence back and improve his play.

It looks like that may come for Kane, as McLeod is on the second line and is a game-time decision tonight, offering Kane a spot with Draisaitl again if he can prove he deserves to be there. Kane is also a guy who often has another level in him for the playoffs, so I'm not worried about his play in the long term as he already proved early in the season that he can be productive this year.
January 13   |   268 answers
Oilers coach Knoblauch doubles down on decision with Kane

Would you like to see Kane moved up even with the Oilers winning this much?

No, if they keep winning it doesn't matter9936.9 %
Yes, he could be better with better linemates16963.1 %
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