While the Matthew Tkachuk-Drew Doughty saga has mounted a promising challenge for the throne of the best rivalry in the NHL as of late, a couple of the game’s original tough customers are out to prove their own fireworks are still worth the price of admission.
The story of Vegas Golden Knights enforcer Ryan Reaves and San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane has a fair few memorable chapters in its past already — the post-season tussle, the Muffin Man chirp, the wedding shoutout, and on and on. Even Jumbo Joe got in on the pair’s back-and-forth at one point.
Asked to reflect on the rivalry — one that’s been “nine years in the making,” Scott Oake said — during the forward’s appearance on Hockey Night in Canada’s ‘After Hours’ segment on Saturday, Reaves wasted little time in stoking the fires once again.
“It might be longer than nine years — we didn’t like each other in junior,” Reaves told Oake and Louie DeBrusk. “I think it kind of started early in my career, him running around and then I’d challenge him. He always tells me he’s going to beat me up, but would never fight me. And it was just that constant — him chirping, chirping, chirping and never doing anything about it. One time, it was pre-season, he waited until the refs came in and he sucker-punched me over the refs, and that’s just kind of what he always does.
“It may be 14 years in the making there, [or] 15.”
Unsurprisingly, Kane took to Twitter on Sunday to weigh in on Reaves’ comments.
“You never played a single game against me in @TheWHL believe me,” Kane tweeted at Reaves. “Have to start calling you Mr. Rodgers for all this ‘make believe’ you spit.”
Asked by the ‘After Hours’ crew how much he enjoys the friendly banter with Kane, Reaves said he’s all-in on the rivalry.
“I love it,” Reaves said Saturday. “I like watching that stuff in other sports — there’s not a lot of it in hockey. I love the hatred in sports, it makes it a little more interesting. I wish there was a little more in hockey to be honest.”
Kane’s Sharks and Reaves’ Golden Knights meet on Nov. 21 in what’s sure to be a mellow, reasonable affair.