Evander Kane is only three games into his return from an injury suffered because of a scary incident but is already in the doghouse.
The Buffalo Sabres left winger drew the ire of coach Dan Bylsma after a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Kane was minus-3 in the loss and had four penalty minutes.
Bylsma played Kane only 13:35, compared to 22:09 in his return to action on Wednesday. He had missed 11 games due to three cracked ribs, the result of a nasty crash into the boards against Montreal in the season opener.
“We need more from Evander,” Bylsma told reporters after the game.
While Kane been held pointless this season, arguably worse has been the timing of some of his infractions.
In the first of a home-and-home set against New Jersey on Friday, Kane lost his check, Devils defenseman Andy Greene, and had to haul him down to negate a breakaway chance in overtime. Greene was awarded a penalty shot and scored to hand the Sabres a 2-1 loss.
Kane then took two penalties on Devils center Vernon Fiddler on Saturday, the second coming on an offensive zone hook early in the third period with the Sabres trailing by two goals. He has 10 penalty minutes in four games.
Kane’s play isn’t helping the Sabres (5-6-4), who are still without center Jack Eichel because of a high ankle sprain.
But Kane’s play isn’t helping them move him either. He’s been the subject of trade rumors since being charged with criminal trespassing and four counts of non-criminal harassment stemming from an incident at a Buffalo nightclub in June. The charges have since been dismissed.
The Minnesota Wild are said to be interested in Kane’s services. Elliotte Friedman reported on Hockey Night In Canada that scouts have been watching carefully, but teams haven’t made offers to the Sabres’ liking.
Kane is under contract until the end of next season with a $5.25-million cap hit. His best season came in 2011-12 when he recorded 30 goals and 57 points in 74 games.
Injury concerns are nothing new to Kane. Before being acquired from Winnipeg in February 2015, he had shoulder surgery and missed the rest of the season. Kane was limited to 65 games last season, his first in Buffalo, because of knee and upper-body ailments.