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Sharks’ Evander Kane handed three-game ban for abuse of officials

Kane will miss a home-and-home set with the Vegas Golden Knights to kick off the season and Saturday's tilt against the Anaheim Ducks as a result of an incident that occurred in the Sharks' final pre-season game.

The San Jose Sharks will be without Evander Kane for their season-opening home-and-home set against the Vegas Golden Knights, as the NHL has announced Tuesday that the winger has been suspended for three games for abuse of officials.

The ban comes on the heels of Sunday’s pre-season outing against the Golden Knights, a contest which became increasingly heated and ended as one of the most spirited affairs of the pre-season. All told, the contest featured more than 100 combined penalty minutes, including several roughing infractions and a handful of misconducts.

The incident that resulted in the suspension occurred midway through the third frame when Kane, who had already been penalized twice during the second period, got into a dustup with Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland. As the two players were separated, Kane spun to deliver a slash to Engelland, but instead connected with the leg of linesman Kiel Murchison, and after Kane appeared ready to skate back in Engelland’s direction, Murchison grabbed Kane and took him to the ice to prevent an altercation. As Kane got up off the ice, he shoved Murchison. The Sharks winger was subsequently handed a game misconduct for abuse of an official.

Asked about the incident following the contest, Kane called it an “absolute joke.”

“I was just skating up the ice, whistle went, minding my own business and next thing you know I get driven into the ice by one of the officials, for doing nothing,” Kane said post-game, according to the Mercury News. “I wasn't even engaged with one of their players. Explain that to me, how I get kicked out of the game for that? Baffling.”

According to the NHL, Kane has been suspended by the league, without pay, for a violation of Rule 40.4, which reads that any player “who, by his actions, physically demeans an official or physically threatens an official by (but not limited to) throwing a stick or any other piece of equipment or object at or in the general direction of an official, shooting the puck at or in the general direction of an official, spitting at or in the general direction of an official, or who deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall be suspended for not less than three (3) games.”

While undoubtedly a loss for the Sharks, Kane’s three-game suspension is arguably a welcome result given initial reports suggested the 28-year-old would receive an automatic 10-game ban as a result of his actions.

The three-game suspension will result in Kane missing the Sharks’ outings against the Golden Knights, which takes place Wednesday in Vegas and Friday in San Jose. He’ll also be suspended for Saturday’s outing against the Anaheim Ducks. Kane will also forfeit $112,903.23 under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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