Rumor: Oilers locker room giving Evander Kane 'tough love.'

Rumor: Oilers locker room giving Evander Kane 'tough love.'

NHL insider reports that the Edmonton Oilers locker room may be trying to light a fire under Evander Kane.

Jonathan Larivee

At least one National Hockey League insider believes that Edmonton Oilers star forward Evander Kane is getting a little extra motivation as we head into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Kane made headlines over the weekend after a verbal altercation with one of his teammates was caught on the live broadcast, and on Monday NHL insider Elliotte Friedman revealed his belief that this may very well have been by design. On his most recent podcast, Friedman indicated that the players on the Oilers roster are looking to dish out some tough love to their teammate.

"I think they've just decided they are going to ride him until he gets there," speculated Friedman on the 32 Thoughts podcast. "It's gonna be tough love and it's not gonna be the coach that's gonna do it, it's gonna be the players."

So why is it exactly that the other players in Edmonton are looking to ride Kane so hard? Friedman believes that the Oilers players are trying to light a fire under their teammate as they draw closer and closer to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"My theory is that the Oilers know if they are gonna be successful in the playoffs, they need Evander Kane," said Friedman. "They need him, they need him. They don't just need him to just be moderately engaged, they need big pain in the ass Evander Kane, they need top forechecker in the league Evander Kane."

Friedman believes the players are motivated to make sure Kane himself is fully motivated come the most critical time of the season.

"They are saying 'If we wanna win the Stanley Cup this year we need a great Evander Kane and we are taking the responsibility of making sure he gets there,'" said Friedman.

The insider also indicated his belief that this comes from the very top of the Oilers roster.

"My theory is McDavid and Draisaitl have gone to Perry and said 'We need your help with this' because you also have the gravitas as a veteran player to go to him'" concluded Friedman.

We've already seen one example of that this weekend when veteran NHL forward Corey Perry was seen unloading on Kane during Saturday night's game between the Oilers and Calgary Flames.

Perry's former teammate Kevin Bieksa described how this behavior was not something you normally see out of Perry, something that would seem to line up with Friedman's theory that there may be a concerted effort underway here to dole out some tough love to Evander Kane.