Evander Kane

Sabres’ Kane (shoulder) ‘ahead of schedule’ with recovery

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The hiring of head coach Dan Bylsma wasn’t the only good news for Buffalo Sabres fans this week.

Evander Kane was in Buffalo on Thursday to have his surgically repaired left shoulder re-evaluated. According to Kane’s agent Craig Oster, the forward is ahead of schedule on the initial 4-6 month recovery timeframe.

“Evander had a follow (up) appointment in Buffalo and all are pleased with his progress,” Oster told PHT via email. “He is ahead of schedule on his recovery and the expectation is he will be completely healthy for the start of the Sabres’ season.”

Kane, who was dealt from the Jets to the Sabres on Feb. 11, underwent surgery on his shoulder on Feb. 7.

The 23-year-old had 10 goals and 22 points in 37 games for Winnipeg this season prior to the surgery.

Ennis sees ‘better days’ ahead for Buffalo

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These last two seasons couldn’t have gone much worse for Buffalo from a statistical perspective. The hope is that the Sabres will take a significant step forward in their rebuilding efforts in 2015-16.

“It’s definitely the start for sure of better days,” Tyler Ennis said, per the Associated Press. “There should be optimism.”

While some fans might have been comfortable with writing this season off in the hopes of securing one of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the draft, finishing in last place was still frustrating for players like Ennis.

“We understand what happened this year, trying to get our future put in place,” Josh Gorges said. “But now, it’s time to take a step forward.”

How big of a step remains to be seen. The Sabres are expected to take McDavid or Eichel depending on whether or not they win the draft lottery or have to settle for the second overall pick. Evander Kane will also finally make his Buffalo debut next season after being acquired in February. He’s been recovering from a shoulder injury.

Those two additions alone might be a significant boost, but given the huge gap between Buffalo and much of the league, this team might continue to struggle next season. The Sabres have the entire summer to improve further on the trade and free agent markets, but regardless they do, the prospects in their system combined with the addition of McDavid or Eichel provides cause for the optimism people like Ennis feel.

Sabres send Reinhart to AHL

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The Buffalo Sabres have sent the No. 2 overall pick at last year’s draft, Sam Reinhart, to their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The assignment, first reported by Reinhart’s WHL Kootenay team, will extend the 19-year-old’s season by at least a couple of weeks. Rochester has six regular-season games left, starting tonight against Lake Erie; the club won’t be making the Calder Cup playoffs, however, so Reinhart’s campaign will essentially end when the Amerks play their final game on Apr. 19.

Still, it promises to be an intriguing two weeks.

Reinhart achieved a remarkable level of success this year, making his NHL debut for the Sabres in October and playing nine games before heading back to Kootenay. There, he scored 65 points in 47 games — adding another nine in seven playoff appearances — and, in January, helped Canada capture gold at the 2015 World Juniors, where he was named to the tournament all-star team after scoring 11 points in seven games.

Reinhart is expected to challenge for a spot in Buffalo next season, and many project he could end up skating on a line with Evander Kane, acquired from Winnipeg in February.

PHT Morning Skate: Former NHLer Warren Peters delivers a devastating hit in a Danish league game

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Former NHLer Warren Peters is in some hot water following a devastating hit in a Danish league game. Peters, who appeared in 94 career NHL games with the Flames, Wild and Stars, hit Lasse Bang with a blindside hit. Bang suffered a concussion on the hit while Peters was slapped with a six-game suspension. (Bar Down)

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St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk talks about the elite blue liners he’s played against during his six seasons in the NHL. (The Players’ Tribune)

The Hockey News looks at five trades made at the March trade deadline currently paying off. (The Hockey News)

Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich displays his best Loyd Christmas impersonation after chipping a tooth.

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Kristina Rutherford visits with one of the newest members of the Buffalo Sabres, Evander Kane. (Sportsnet)

Lupul on Kadri: ‘This stuff happens — it happened in Winnipeg’

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Toronto winger Joffrey Lupul was front and center today in the wake of the Nazem Kadri situation, and offered up an interesting parallel when discussing Kadri with reporters.

“This stuff happens — it happened in Winnipeg,” Lupul explained, per TSN. “They were able to get away from it just fine, and control it.”

Lupul is, of course, referencing the Evander Kane situation in Winnipeg, which is a dicey example to throw out. Kane was alleged to have gotten in a dispute with teammates — specifically, Dustin Byfuglien — before reportedly no-showing for a game in Vancouver. That was followed by Kane’s decision to have season-ending shoulder surgery, which was then followed by the Jets shipping him to Buffalo.

Kadri’s situation in Toronto sounds a lot different.

The Leafs forward was made a healthy scratch on Monday after oversleeping and missing Sunday’s team meeting. That was followed by today’s announcement, in which team president Brendan Shanahan tacked on two more games to Kadri’s punishment, saying “there’s more to this, obviously” than just a missed meeting.

Unlike Kane, Kadri looks as though he’ll return to the Toronto lineup this season. And also unlike Kane, Kadri seems to have the backing of teammates, at least publicly — in addition to Lupul, Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf also vowed his support.

Winnipeg hardly showed similar unity in the aftermath of shower-gate; Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler were pretty outspoken in stressing the need for professionalism and following rules, but never said anything about welcoming Kane back, or how good a guy he was.

Based on today’s comments, Lupul and the Leafs genuinely like Kadri.

“Just so the story’s not blown out of proportion, he’s a good guy and a good teammate,” Lupul explained. “It’s not like he’s ever created any problems in here or anything.

“He’s a good guy and one of my good friends, and everyone in here will say the same thing.”