BOSTON — Most opposing players come into the Garden expecting to be treated like the enemy.
But Atlanta forward Evander Kane might just be the exception to that rule as far as Bruins fans are concerned.
The Garden faithful certainly don’t want to see Kane lighting up the scoreboard when the Thrashers take on Boston on Thursday night, but Kane should get a warm reception regardless of what he does.
That’s because last year, Kane did what most Bruins fans wanted to see one of their own players do, when he delivered a devastating knockout punch to Pittsburgh cheap-shot artist Matt Cooke. Kane administered the beatdown on April 10, just over a month after Cooke knocked out Marc Savard with a blind-side head shot on March 7.
Thursday will be Kane’s first game in Boston since that fight, but he’s already heard from some of the Bruins. They certainly appreciated what he did to Cooke, even though it wasn’t actually his intention to avenge the cheap shot on Savard.
“I know when it happened, I got a couple phone calls from the guys,” Kane said after Thursday’s morning skate. “I know it got a lot of buzz throughout the league. It just so happened to be Matt Cooke, who did that to Marc Savard earlier on in the year. I wasn’t really looking for payback for that. It was more for myself and for my team, but I guess it worked out.”
Kane’s KO of Cooke was especially gratifying for Savard’s longtime linemate Milan Lucic.
“I know Milan Lucic pretty well. I played in juniors with him [with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League in 2006-07],” Kane said. “So he sent me a text, told me what was going on in Boston. It was a fun time. Like I said, that definitely wasn’t in my mind at all, but I know it got a lot of attention and was a pretty big story.”