The Jets announced Kane’s injury on Monday, charting it as a “lower body injury.”
“You lose four guys and for a big bulk of their season…we are talking about our top four in terms of minutes and how they are played,” said head coach Paul Maurice.
Those four guys include defenceman Jacob Trouba, Mark Stuart, Zach Bogosian, and Tobias Enstrom. The weakness on the blue line has meant Dustin Byfuglien has been switched back to defence, with the Jets looking for contributions from just about anywhere.
“Anywhere” has included Ben Chiarot, the Hamilton-born defenceman who had mostly been skating with the St. John’s IceCaps in the American Hockey League. Maurice is confident that Chiarot will use his time well and seems to be high on veteran defenceman Jay Harrison as well.
Kane, meanwhile, isn’t exactly Winnipeg’s favourite son. For reasons that go well beyond hockey and well beyond the purview of this blog, he’s found himself on the third line and on the outs with much of the fanbase.
In 26 games this season, he has a disappointing six goals to go with nine assists. He’s in the third year of a six year contract and hasn’t scored more than 19 goals in a season since 2011-2012 when he popped in 30. From my standpoint, this seems a matter of trying to find a place for Kane to fit. Given the umbrage of the hockey market toward him, he’s probably long past due an early exit on his time in Winnipeg.
But for now, the Jets have to make things happen. That means pushing Chris Thorburn up the lineup to the third unit to play with Adam Lowry and Matt Halischuk, which could prove a nice move. The trio skated together back when Kane was serving a two game suspension and seemed to click well.
Despite these injuries, the Jets are playing well. They’re 19-10-7 going into Monday’s game and are nine points up on the Minnesota Wild.