Sabres' Evander Kane out indefinitely with cracked ribs
Forward crashed hard into boards in season-opening loss to Montreal
Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane is out indefinitely after cracking three ribs in Thursday's season opener.
Coach Dan Bylsma said Kane will miss "weeks," the latest misfortune for a Sabres team that is already without top-line center Jack Eichel, who will miss several weeks after being diagnosed with a high ankle sprain Wednesday.
Kane was hurt when he crashed into the end boards during the second period of Buffalo's 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. He was taken to the hospital after the game and released Thursday night, Kane said.
While racing Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin for a loose puck up the left wing in the Montreal zone. Kane reached for the puck when the two bumped. Kane lost his balance, fell and slid with his left elbow slamming into the boards. Kane doubled over in pain as he was escorted off the ice.
Kane posted on his Twitter page Friday, "Thanks to everyone for their well wishes."
Kane had 20 goals and had 15 assists last season for the Sabres after being acquired in a trade with Winnipeg. He missed 17 games with a knee injury.
Kane had a tumultuous off-season in Buffalo. The 25-year-old player faces four counts of noncriminal harassment, one count of disorderly conduct and a count of misdemeanour trespass from a fight at a downtown bar in June. He is accused of grabbing three women by the hair and neck in separate encounters inside the bar and returning to the bar after being forcibly removed by a bouncer. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in August and is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 31.
The Sabres struggled before and after Kane's injury in the opener. They were not only without Eichel but also forward Kyle Okposo (bruised knee) and defenceman Dmitry Kulikov (back), two off-season acquisitions expected to play significant roles this season.
Okposo and Kulikov both practiced Friday and will likely return during Buffalo's upcoming four-game road trip, which starts Sunday at Edmonton.
Eichel said Friday he does not want to rush his return. The second-year star spoke following practice, using a scooter to move around the locker room with his left foot in a stabilizing boot.
"High ankle sprains are tricky injuries," Eichel said. "You just want to let everything heal and just go about the whole process the right way and take it day by day and listen to the trainers, listen to the doctors. Really, it's a lot about patience and sticking to your game plan."
He will wear the stabilizing boot for about 10 days and then have his ankle evaluated.
"Patience is important for this," he said. "It's a long season, you don't want to rush back and then see yourself out again."
The injury occurred with less than 10 minutes remaining in Wednesday's practice when he became entangled with a defenceman and his leg buckled.
"It's a bad bounce, but hockey's a physical game and injuries are part of it," he said. "So more than anything it's how you handle it and how you return." Eichel was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft. He is coming off a solid rookie season in which he had 24 goals and 32 assists in 81 games last year. Eichel played one year at Boston University and became the second freshman to win college hockey's top honor, the Hobey Baker Award.