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Kane suspended 21 games for Sharks, violated NHL COVID-19 protocol

Forward did not attend training camp, play in season opener, previously cleared in gambling investigation @NHLdotcom

Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks has been suspended 21 games for violating NHL COVID-19 protocol.

The 30-year-old left wing was not with the Sharks during training camp and did not play in a 4-3 season-opening win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. He is eligible to return against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 30.

The NHL and NHL Players' Association on Sept. 1 agreed to COVID-19 protocol for the 2021-22 season.

"I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols," Kane said in a statement. "I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey"

Kane has been the subject of several investigations by the NHL, including one after his wife, Deanna, alleged that Kane gambled on NHL games. Evander and Deanna Kane are in the process of getting a divorce.

The NHL announced Sept. 22 that there was no evidence to support the gambling claims but that two additional investigations into Kane had been opened. The NHL said Monday that its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife could not be substantiated.

"The NHL has advised our organization that Evander Kane has been suspended without pay for 21 games for an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocols," the Sharks said in a statement. "While we are encouraged by Evander's commitment to moving forward, we are extremely disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA. We will not be commenting further on Evander's status prior to the conclusion of the NHL's mandated suspension."

Kane led the Sharks last season with 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) in 56 games. He has four seasons remaining on the seven-year contract he signed with San Jose on May 24, 2018.

To add depth at left wing, the Sharks claimed forward Jonah Gadjovich off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 7. The 23-year-old was held without a point in one NHL game last season but scored 15 goals in 19 games with Utica of the American Hockey League.

Rookie forward William Eklund is expected to have a prominent role. The No. 7 pick of the 2021 NHL Draft had an assist in his NHL debut against the Jets after scoring six points (one goal, five assists) in five preseason games.

Selected by the Atlanta Thrashers with the No. 4 pick of the 2009 NHL Draft, Kane has scored 506 points (264 goals, 242 assists) in 769 regular-season games with the Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks, and 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 29 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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