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Jets' Kane to have shoulder surgery, out 4-6 months

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg Jets left wing Evander Kane is out for the rest of the season.

The Jets announced Friday that Kane will have surgery on his left shoulder and will miss 4-6 months.

The Jets play the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at MTS Center (8 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

The news concludes a tumultuous week for Kane, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday after visiting a team doctor to have the shoulder examined. He was scratched Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks, which Paul Maurice called a coach's decision.

Various published reports suggested the decision to scratch Kane was the result of a dress-code violation that precipitated an incident between Kane and teammate Dustin Byfuglien earlier Tuesday.

Maurice refused to comment on any details involving a possible conflict between Kane and a teammate.

Kane has been dealing with the injury this season, but Maurice said after the morning skate on Friday that the condition had worsened. Asked whether any possible conflict influenced the timing of the decision to have surgery, Maurice declined comment.

"That would be a question for Evander," Maurice said.

Kane had 10 goals and 12 assists in 37 games this season and has been a valuable member of the Winnipeg penalty kill that ranked in the NHL top 10 for much of the season.

Kane, the fourth pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, is in his sixth season in the League. He had a career-high 30 goals in the 2011-12 season, his third and first in Winnipeg after the franchise relocated from Atlanta.

Kane signed a six-year contract with the Jets in September 2012. Since then, Kane has battled injuries and has 46 goals in 148 games.

Along with adjusting to a role on Winnipeg's third line with rookie center Adam Lowry and a changing cast of right wings this season, Kane sustained a knee injury in the first game of the season Oct. 9 against the Arizona Coyotes and a lower-body injury Dec. 27 against the Minnesota Wild.

The two injuries kept Kane out of the Winnipeg lineup for 15 games.

Byfuglien took Kane's place as a forward against Vancouver and will remain in that role for now. Maurice said he would like to return Byfuglien to the Winnipeg blue line. Byfuglien spent the past two months as a defenseman and represented the Jets at the 2015 Honday NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25.

"I do like him on defense," Maurice said of Byfuglien.

Kane's absence leaves a significant hole on Winnipeg's third line. Byfuglien will be on Winnipeg's second line with left wing Mathieu Perreault and center Mark Scheifele. Right wing Michael Frolik will move to the third line with Lowry while Chris Thorburn will fill Kane's third-line role.

Maurice said he believes the Jets, who at one point this season were without their top four defensemen, can prosper even without Kane.

"We've had key players out at all positions over the course of the [season] and have found a way to survive," Maurice said. "He is a key piece that comes out, and we're going to have to make up for that, but we are healthy on the blue line. We'll have to play a little tighter game."

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