There was concern the hit Devils d-man David Schlemko put on Evander Kane this weekend may have caused serious damage to Kane’s knee.
And with good reason.
On Monday, the Sabres announced that Kane would miss the next 4-6 weeks with a left MCL injury. It’s a pretty tough blow for a team that’s struggled out of the gate — 2-6-0, tied for last in the Atlantic — and struggled to score goals this year.
Buffalo has just 16 through the first eight games.
Kane hadn’t been lighting it up — just a goal and three points this season — but was averaging over 20 minutes per night while playing with a variety of different forwards. Head coach Dan Bylsma has juggled his lines a fair bit, looking to find some chemistry in a group that was completely remodeled this offseason by GM Tim Murray.
In the wake of Kane’s injury, here’s what Buffalo’s lines may look like:
The Kane injury is also the latest to hit the Sabres, who’ve had little luck in the health department this season. Defenseman Zach Bogosian has yet to suit up while dealing with a lower-body injury, and No. 1 netminder Robin Lehner has been sidelined since Oct. 10 with an ankle sprain.
As for a return date? Should Kane miss the full six weeks, he’d be in line to come back around the first week in December — meaning he could miss up to 15 games.
With a few forwards getting back to full health, the Penguins needed to make a roster move or two — and on Sunday, they made one by waiving veteran tough guy Bobby Farnham.
Farnham, 26, had only appeared in three games for Pittsburgh this season, going scoreless with five PIM.
The Brown University product made his NHL debut with the Pens last season and appeared in 11 games, going scoreless with 24 PIM. He also fought 15 times — four with Pittsburgh, 11 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton — which is pretty much his M.O.
Since turning pro four years ago, Farnham’s made a name for himself as an undersized (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) yet willing combatant.
Like during the ’12-13 AHL campaign, he fought 21 times while racking up a staggering 274 PIM.
As reported earlier, Pens forward Beau Bennett is close to returning from a five-game absence, and Eric Fehr appears primed to play soon as well — hence the Farnham waiving. Pittsburgh next plays on Wednesday against the Capitals (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Beau Bennett‘s health — or lack thereof — has been a running theme in Pittsburgh over the last few seasons.
And now, there’s a new chapter to the story.
Bennett, who’s missed the last five games with an undisclosed injury, hurt himself celebrating a goal against Montreal on Oct. 13.
“It’s very unique the way the injury happened,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said, per the team website. “But as the game is, anything can happen.
“Sometimes for Beau, that’s the way it goes.”
Both Bennett and the Pens are hopeful he can return to the lineup on Wednesday, when they take on Caps (NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET). At Sunday’s practice, the former first-round pick was rotating on a fourth line that included Kevin Porter, Matt Cullen and Sergei Plotnikov.
Bennett had shown well prior to getting hurt. In addition to scoring his first of the year against the Habs, he fired an impressive six shots on net in just over 14 minutes of ice time.
After recording one of their best wins of the season on Saturday, the Florida Panthers received some bad news on Sunday.
Aleksander Barkov, the club’s No. 1 center, suffered a broken hand blocking a shot earlier in the week, per the Sun-Sentinel. Barkov didn’t play in last night’s big 6-2 win over the Stars in Dallas, and it’s unclear how many more games he’ll miss while recovering.
Regardless of how long recovery takes, this is a significant loss for Florida.
The former No. 2 overall pick was off to a terrific start, emerging as a quality playmaker on the top line between Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau.
Barkov had three goals and six points in the first seven games of the year.
Against Dallas, Nick Bjugstad jumped up to fill top center duties and fared well, finishing with a goal and an assist. Bjugstad will be one to watch moving forward, as the Panthers play three straight at home (against the Avs, Bruins and Caps) before heading West for a three-game set in Anaheim, San Jose and L.A.
With Barkov out and Bjugstad moving up, the Panthers will be asking much more out of depth centers Vincent Trocheck, Dave Bolland and Derek McKenzie.
Victor Hedman will return from his one-game absence and suit up for the Lightning tonight when they take on the Preds at Bridgestone.
Hedman has been out of action since last week, when a Jamie Benn hit exited him from an eventual loss to Dallas. Hedman missed half of that game and didn’t dress in a win over Buffalo on the weekend, but appears to be back to regular duties.
He practiced alongside usual d-man partner Anton Stralman this week, and manned his usual spot on the power play.
Getting Hedman back is obviously huge for the Bolts, who’ve lost two of their last three. The team was a little thin on the back end with him out of the lineup, and Nikita Nesterov serving a two-game suspension.
Related: Hedman calls Benn hit that sidelined him ‘clean’