Oilers' Kane is banged up, but he says he's ready to play Game 2

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The injured Evander Kane has been seen standing on the Edmonton Oilers’ bench rather than sitting down at times so we know there’s something clearly wrong with him in this playoff run.

But on Monday, as the team wrapped up their morning skate, Kane hopped onto the podium, and not gingerly, with a big smile on his face for his meet-the-press session.

So, if he’s hurting, he’s still playing Game 2 against the Panthers. Although not practising.

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We’re not sure where he’ll playing or with what linemates but it could be on left wing on the third line with Ryan McLeod in the middle and either Warren Foegele or Corey Perry on right. Perry only played 8:45 in the 3-0 loss in Game 1, so he may be scratched.

“Yeah, I think I’m going to be playing tonight. It’s the Stanley Cup Final and everybody’s geared up and ready to play,” said Kane, clearly comprised by his medical issue (sports hernia or something else) because he hasn’t scored in eight games and has just one assist in that time.

“There are lots of guys going through different things. I’m excited about tonight’s game and responding to Game 1,” he said.

But there’s a fine line between playing with an injury and it being detrimental to the team if Kane can’t score and can’t play his usual rambunctious game.

“I forget who it was but there’s a sports commentator that was talking a few years ago about that,” said Kane. “He said if you’re on the field, everybody expects you to be yourself, essentially. If you dress, they expect you to perform like you’re at your best.

“Obviously there’s reality but at the same time as an athlete, that’s what you expect from yourself. I expect to contribute the way I know I can and I’m looking forward to having another opportunity to do that.”

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Like when does a coach tell a player he can’t play?

“Matthew Tkachuk last year (when he broke his sternum in the Final against Vegas),” said Panthers’ coach Paul Maurice, who saw Tkachuk get hurt in Game 3, but soldier through Game 4 in considerable pain, before sitting out Game 5.

“He had earned the right to play that next game but he wasn’t playing the last one,” said Maurice.

“To his credit, he had three really good chances to score in Game 4 when we’re down a goal. He’s net front and if he’s healthy, based on the playoffs he was having, he scores that goal. But he couldn’t do it. I’m watching a guy with a broken bone but it’s pain tolerance at that point.

“I talked to him the next day and, to his credit, when I went to him and,I said, ‘Matthew, I need to know.’ He said he couldn’t. That one actually is fairly easy, cut and dry. It’s the other ones,” said Maurice.

Oiler coach Kris Knoblauch also had Sam Carrick centering a fourth line with Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown on the wings, but wouldn’t say if that would stay the same at puck-drop.

“Game-time decision. If Sam plays somebody else is coming out,” said Knoblauch.

Bet on it being Perry, although Foegele was off the ice early at practice, usually a tip-off a player will be suiting up for the game.

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