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Evander Kane followed a similar timeline after each of his first eight NHL regular seasons.
Pack up the locker [url=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/aaron-rodgers-jersey]Aaron Rodgers Packers Jersey[/url] , say goodbye to teammates and get frustrated watching other players compete in the playoffs rather than getting his own opportunity on the big stage.
A late-season trade to San Jose changed all that for Kane, who is excited for his first chance at the postseason after 574 career games when the Sharks open their first-round series in Anaheim on Thursday night.
”I’ve said it in the past: I think I’m a playoff player,” Kane said Monday. ”I’ve watched the playoffs and when I look at the style of play and it’s something I was jealous because I wasn’t involved in it. Now I get that opportunity and I have to back those words up.”
Kane has had plenty of personal success since making his debut for Atlanta as an 18-year-old in 2009 after being the fourth overall pick that year. But his teams never had success in Atlanta, Winnipeg or Buffalo and he always spent the spring as a spectator rather than as a participant.
He joins a franchise that has been a playoff regular, making the postseason for the 13th time in the past 14 seasons under general manager Doug Wilson, including a run to the Stanley Cup Final two years ago.
”Fans and players in this organization are spoiled when it comes to that,” center Logan Couture said. ”You make the playoffs 13 of 14 years – obviously it starts at the top with Doug and the coaching staffs they’ve brought in here. It’s pretty remarkable really to make the playoffs that many times. I missed it once and it’s devastating when you miss it. We’re lucky to play for this organization.”
That’s why Kane was so excited about the trade to San Jose on Feb. 26 for two draft picks and a prospect.
Kane has made a big impact on the Sharks since arriving. He stepped right onto the top line with captain Joe Pavelski and has used his speed and physical play to deliver nine goals and five assists in 17 games.
His presence sparked an eight-game winning streak in March that helped San Jose clinch a playoff berth and he has helped fill a scoring void created when Patrick Marleau left as a free agent for Toronto last summer and then Joe Thornton went down with a knee injury in January.
”In the short period he’s been here, he’s brought speed which backs teams off, he’s brought a physical presence, which keeps some people honest,” coach Peter DeBoer said. ”For me, the biggest thing is he’s probably added a goal a night for us. When Patty Marleau left, and we asked guys to take a step, you’re not scoring as much as you normally would, and there was a lot of 2-1 games and we found a way to battle things out. Eventually [url=http://www.steelersfootballauthentics.com/james-washington-jersey-authentic]James Washington Game Jersey[/url] , Jumbo going down, it started to catch up with us. That extra goal a game that he’s added to our lineup, whether it’s him scoring himself or creating a goal, that’s a difference in this league.”
Kane was hampered late in the season by an undisclosed injury that forced him to miss two games before returning for the season finale against Minnesota on Saturday.
Kane didn’t look like his usual self that game but said it was important to get rid of some ”cobwebs” before the playoffs started and he gets the chance to back up his belief that he can thrive at this time of year.
”It’s a fast, hard-nosed game,” he said. ”The intensity ramps up and the style of play. It’s hard to score. There are a lot of 2-1 games, 3-2 games, and you have to find different ways to score. I’ve always prided myself on being able to score in different ways and I think the physical element as well. That’s a big part of the playoffs. Guys who have 20 hits all year the next thing you know they have 20 hits in two games. It’s definitely a different animal and I’m looking forward to experiencing it.”
NOTES: DeBoer said he expects all his players to be available for Game 1 on Thursday with the exception of Thornton, who has been out since Jan. 23.
>There is little doubt the QB any NFL coach or player would want leading the way to win a big game right now is Tom Brady.So it makes sense he was a nearly unanimous choice as the No. 1 quarterback in the league by an Associated Press panel.Brady received nine of 11 first-place votes and was second on the other ballots for a total of 108 out of a possible 110 points in the rankings released Friday.“Brady isn’t just No. 1 on this list of active players. He’s probably No. 1 on a list of all-time QBs that you’d want to start a game that you needed to win,” said the AP’s Dennis Waszak Jr., based in New York. “The likes of Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and John Elway might have something to say about that, but it’s tough to argue against Brady.”Still going strong at age 40, the New England Patriots superstar won by an even greater margin than he did back in September [url=http://www.newyorkjetsteamonline.com/leonard-williams-jersey]Cheap Leonard Williams Jersey[/url] , when he was overwhelmingly voted No. 1 in the first of the weekly AP position rankings for this season.QB is the only position being surveyed twice.This time, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was the runner-up with 81 points in the voting done by Pro Football Hall of Fame member James Lofton and 10 AP football writers on a 10-points-to-1-point system.Showing zero signs of slipping, Brady heads into Week 16 with his Patriots at 11-3 and already having clinched a record ninth consecutive AFC East title.“Nobody is better when the game is on the line,” said the AP’s Teresa M. Walker, based in Nashville, Tennessee.Brady leads the NFL with 4,163 yards passing, is tied for second with a 104.0 rating, and has an impressive margin of 28 touchdown throws to only seven interceptions.Brees is tied with Brady in passer rating; the only QB ahead of them is Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs, who was named on only one ballot, collecting an eighth-place vote.Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers finished third with 75 points and one No. 1 vote, followed by Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers with 73 points and the other first-place nod. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks was No. 5 with 61 points.Each of those top five has won at least one Super Bowl trophy. Brady, of course, leads the group with five, along with four Super Bowl MVP awards [url=http://www.redskinscheapstore.com/derrius-guice-jersey-cheap]Derrius Guice Jersey[/url] , including last season.The rest of the top 10, in order: Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams, Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, who was the NFL MVP last season.This season’s initial QB ranking by the AP was much tighter at the top: Brady had eight first-place votes and 107 points, while Rodgers took the other three No. 1s and was second overall at 94 points, with Brees at No. 3.Rodgers’ slip was due to his health issues: He went back on injured reserve this week after returning for one game following a two-month absence with a broken collarbone.“Rodgers may be the most talented quarterback in the league,” said San Francisco-based AP writer Josh Dubow.Other players whose standing might have been affected by season-ending injuries were Wentz and Houston Texans rookie Deshaun Watson, who appeared on only two ballots.This time, a total of 19 quarterbacks received at least one vote, including Colin Kaepernick, who was 10th on the ballot of Rob Maaddi, who is based in Philadelphia. Kaepernick played in a Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers [url=http://www.chargerscheapstore.com/derwin-james-jersey-cheap]Cheap Derwin James Jersey[/url] , but is not in the league this season after initiating the national anthem kneeling and sitting during last preseason.“Matthew Stafford has 26 fourth-quarter comebacks but no playoff wins. Matt Ryan is Matty Ice but couldn’t protect a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl. Andrew Luck’s health is too iffy to trust him to win the annual family Turkey Bowl,” Maaddi said. “I take Kaepernick because he’s won big games and he can do it with his arm or legs.”EDITOR’S NOTE: The Associated Press is ranking the top 10 players at a different position every week of the NFL season, based on the votes and insights of Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton and AP football writers Simmi Buttar, Dave Campbell, Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Howard Fendrich, Rob Maaddi, Arnie Stapleton, Teresa M. Walker, Dennis Waszak Jr., and Barry Wilner. This feature will move on Fridays..
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