SAN JOSE, Calif. — A day after Evander Kane’s epic rant about Ryan Reaves was followed by a meltdown by the Sharks in the closing minutes of Tuesday night’s Game 4, it was the Golden Knights’ turn to fire back and fan the flames of the feud.
The Knights instead chose to hit the brakes on escalating the rhetoric.
Colin Miller gave short answers on the sucker punch that marked up his face and led to Kane’s ejection. Fellow defenseman Brayden McNabb said he wasn’t going to elaborate on the extra-curricular activity.
Even Reaves, the target of Kane’s words and one of the more outspoken personalities in the league, elected to simply laugh it off Wednesday.
“Five or six years from now when I retire, maybe a little longer, if Vince McMahon wants to call me, I could always use the extra cash,” Reaves said of Kane’s assertion he should be a professional wrestler instead of a hockey player.
Reaves said he could perform under the name “The Muffin Man,” a reference to what Kane said it felt like when Reaves punched him during Game 3.
“That’s my new nickname,” Reaves laughed. “I’m changing my Twitter profile soon. I just have to find the right picture.”
— Ryan Reaves (@reavo7five) April 18, 2019
Kane spoke at length before Tuesday’s game about Reaves, a longtime rival all the way back to their days in the Western Hockey League, who he finally locked horns with on the ice when they fought Sunday night.
Reaves said his wife Alanna texted him the quotes as soon as they hit social media and they shared a good laugh.
He knew right away Kane had been taken out of his game.
“He has this big speech about how he doesn’t want to pay any attention to me, but then I see full paragraphs about me,” Reaves said. “It’s a little counter-productive, I think.”
None of the talk has seemed to help the Sharks, who find themselves down 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series with Game 5 at SAP Center on Thursday night.
Reaves has found a way to heavily impact the series even between games. San Jose forward Joe Pavelski credited Reaves for getting the Sharks off their game, something that doesn’t surprise Reaves.
“That’s what they pay me to do,” Reaves said. “Obviously, I’d like to score a couple goals, too. We don’t want to lean on one or two lines. But I’m here to play physical and get in everyone’s head and get them off their game. After Game 1, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
It may be part of the plan to pull back from the verbal battles with the Knights on the verge of ousting the Sharks for the second year in a row.
“Coach keeps saying to be disciplined,” forward Will Carrier said. “It goes through our head. When you’re out there, you’re thinking about it. Sometimes there’s cheap shots going on, but you can’t take those two minutes. It’s definitely in our head.”
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