Sabres' Kane said his early success is tied into health

November 9, 2017

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Evander Kane has played in the NHL for nine years, but has never been able to play all 82 games. In 2011-12 Kane played 74 games for Winnipeg. The year before, he got in 73 with Atlanta.

There was one season he played all his team’s games which was the strike shortened season in 2012-13. That was 48 games.

In his two seasons with Buffalo, Kane has played 65 and 70 games, but has been extremely productive. In 150 games as a Sabre Kane averages 31 goals every 82 games.

This season, he has nine goals in 15 games which ranks him 6th in the NHL. He also leads the NHL with three shorthanded goals.

Kane said he hasn’t changed anything in his off-season training program to prevent injuries. He feels it’s just been freakish stuff, “It’s the first time in four years I’ve played the first 15 games, that’s why. I’ve been hurt with freak injuries, a torn MCL or broken ribs or another torn MCL, so I’ve just been healthy enough to play.”

“If you look at the injuries, it’s not like I’ve had these chronic injuries like a groin or a bad back, they were freak accidents where I go 40 miles per hour into the boards and break four ribs or my own player runs into me and I have a torn MCL, so they’re just freak accidents.”

Kane has played 511 NHL games and has averaged 27 goals over 82 games. To celebrate his 500 game milestone, Kane tweeted the $3200 bottle of cognac given to him by Jack Eichel, Zach Bogosian and Sam Reinhart.

That also brings up the next topic which is Kane with his teammates. Tim Murray would say that he told Kane that he had to be a better teammate, but I don’t think guys would go out and buy that kind of gift if they didn’t like him.

His new head coach Phil Housley has been very impressed with Kane this season, “I think he’s led by example, he plays the game the right way and I just like the way that he approaches the game.”

“He’s been one of our most consistent guys up front and it’s a credit to him.”

Kane has also like what Housley has brought to the team, “Yes, Phil’s an honest guy, he wants to win and right now we’re building towards to doing that consistently and I think it’s been a work in progress, but I think we all see as a group in here the potential and we’re on the cusp of breaking through that barrier.”

In my mind, except for some untimely penalties, I’ve never had a problem with Kane’s on-ice game. The thing that’s dogged him is his off-ice activities. Kane is now 26 and he said that’s all behind him, “There have been a lot of things that have gone on off the ice over the past couple of years that last year, I put behind me and I wanted to prove that I’m an elite player in this league and you can’t just do it for one year, you’ve got to continue to do it year after year and I just wanted to have a good start.”

Kane is also holding himself accountable after games. After each loss he’s by his locker waiting to see if anybody wants to talk and usually will stay until the media is done.

Kane will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. If Jason Botterill is not interested in re-signing him, there’s a good chance he’ll get traded before the trade deadline. Kane said he’s not looking to leave, but it also doesn’t weigh on him, “No I really don’t think about that. For some reason it doesn’t bother me at all. Whether you believe me or not, it just doesn’t.” Kane said emphatically. “I’m pretty comfortable and I’m really happy with where I’m at here in Buffalo. I love the guys in the room and love what we’re trying to build here.”