I know what you are thinking…and that is not the reason for this comparison. Race is only one factor in comparing Evander Kane to former Sens goalie Ray Emery. Yes, both players are African-American in a largely Caucasian-dominated sport. I would be writing this post the same way even if it was about Mark Scheifele instead of Kane. That is one similarity, but the similarities between the image projected by Ray Emery circa 2006-07 are quite striking with the attitude and image of Evander Kane of the present.
Emery’s antics got him essentially run out of town because he was a flamboyant individual in a conservative city.
Emery was always looking to be the centre of attention, whether it be his choice of vehicles (inconspicuous burnt orange Lamborghini or white Hummer) or his flashy attire.
Emery made headlines when he very publicly got a tattoo “Anger is a Gift” that he paid for with winnings from a dressing room bet with Daniel Alfredsson.
Emery’s flair, flashiness and off-ice antics grew tiresome for Senators fans and management and he got a one way ticket out of Ottawa via a buyout of the final year of his contract in 2008.
Well, fast forward to 2012-13, and Kane seems to be headed down the same tricky path. The comparisons are striking. Kane tweeted out a picture of himself with bricks of cash in Vegas during the NHL Lockout, which many fans took as a slap in the face. He has also been the centre of recent controversies about his active nightlife, allegedly walking out on bills in Winnipeg restaurants, and most recently getting a very public haircut . Winnipeg is no more liberal than Ottawa as a city, and I fear that Kane will not learn from the mistakes Emery made in his youth. I am not suggesting he needs to be someone he isn’t, but Kane needs to learn the lesson that sometimes less is more, and there is a time and place for certain things.
Emery seems to have grown out of the image he had in Ottawa, but had to go through some tough times (career threatening injury, KHL stint) to do so. Kane, who signed a 6 year, $31.5 M contract in the offseason might not get the same life lessons before it is too late.