San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane was suspended three games by the NHL on Tuesday for physical abuse of officials, stemming from an incident in a preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.
The suspension was automatic per NHL rules, but can be appealed to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Kane will forfeit $112,903.23 in salary if he serves the ban.
Evander Kane gets ejected in his last preseason game for “abuse of officials.” pic.twitter.com/OAKcqPWf2I
At 12 minutes, 51 seconds of the third period in a preseason loss at the Vegas Golden Knights, Kane and defenseman Deryk Engelland got into an altercation after the Knights’ defenseman held Kane’s stick following a hit.
Engelland cross-checked Kane, and Kane responded with a slash that appeared to also make contact with linesman Kiel Murchison. As Kane skated back up the ice, Murchison grabbed the front of Kane’s jersey, apparently trying to prevent an escalation with Engelland, and they tumbled down to the ice.
The officials gave both players misconduct penalties, but Kane was ejected from the game for abuse of officials. He yelled at the refs from the Sharks’ bench before heading to the dressing room.
After the game, Kane ripped the call.
“I get kicked out of the game for getting jumped from behind by a referee. I’ve never seen a ref take five strides,” he said after the 5-1 defeat. “If you look at his face, he’s getting all this 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.”
Kane, who was tied for the NHL lead last season with three game misconducts, also indicated that the NHL officials had a double-standard for him. “It’s funny … if you look at the way I get treated out there when it comes to the scrums, or when the other team is trying to do [something] to me, there’s a massive difference compared to everybody else on the ice,” he said.
The three-game suspension was automatic as Kane’s penalty was classified as a Category III offense. A Category II classification would have carried a 10-game suspension. The NHL determined that the physical force used by Kane was “solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation,” which carries a lesser punishment.
Kane can appeal to Bettman, who only needs to conduct a phone hearing for this level of offense. According to the NHL, “a hearing will be conducted by the Commissioner on an expedited basis, and best efforts will be used to provide a hearing before the second game missed by the player due to the automatic suspension imposed under this rule.”
The Sharks begin their season on Wednesday at the Vegas Golden Knights, and their second game is on Friday back in San Jose against those same Golden Knights.