Botterill confirms he hasn't made a decision on Kane

November 30, 2017
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550)- It was reported by Pierre LeBrun on Tuesday that the Sabres hadn’t decided on what they’re going to do with Evander Kane.

Kane becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and Sabres GM Jason Botterill said there’s still more thinking to do, “Yes, that’s accurate.”

“It’s a situation where you look statistically, Evander’s done a great job for us. We’re a team that’s looking for more goals and he’s scored goals. I think Phil deserves a lot of the credit with Evander where he reached out to build a relationship early in the season and from Day 1 in training camp, Evander has come in here and performed very well for us here.

This season Kane is on a pace for 39 goals and 75 points. Jack Eichel’s pace is 23 goals and 62 points while Ryan O’Reilly is on a pace for 23 goals and 53 points.

Anaheim and New Jersey made a big trade today and Botterill has been on the phone too. He said his talks have gone well, “They’ve been very positive. I’m still trying to build a relationship with other general managers, but I think it’s good for the game when trades like Duchene go down or trades like today.”

The season certainly hasn’t gone the way everybody thought it would. The team is tied with Arizona for dead last in the NHL with 16 points and Botterill said, “I’m optimistic and have been very happy with our players, but especially our coaching staff. There’s frustration with the record, but what I’ve really liked of our coaching staff is the next day it’s what is the action plan? What do we have to do to get better?

Botterill has had two months of evaluation and seen this team through 25 games which is 30 percent of the season. I wondered if this team is worse than he thought it was coming in. “We could have a long discussion here on are we better than our record, worse than our record? The bottom line is our record’s our record and what we’re looking for is players to help us out of this situation and players that want to improve and want to become a part of the solution here.”

We hear a lot that there needs to be more effort or more pride on this team. Botterill hears this stuff too and said, “I think there is a work ethic, I think they are working, but on a game-by-game basis, it’s one player working hard and not all the players working hard or you see one line going well and another line’s not going well or the penalty killing’s improved this year, but the power play’s slipped, so there has to be more of a consistency for us to be a successful team.”

“It has to be an internal drive from our leaders for us to be a consistent team.”

It’s looking like Zach Bogosian has a good chance to play on Friday. Botterill said, “I’m excited about seeing Bogosian back in the lineup. This is a little bit of what we hoped our defense would look like when we went over things in the summer.”   

Robin Lehner has played a lot of hockey lately so Housley gave him the day off the ice. The head coach said Lehner will be OK for Friday.

 

Thursday’s Lines:

 

Kane  Eichel  Reinhart

Nolan  O’Reilly  Okposo

Pouliot  Criscuolo  Pominville

Girgensons  Larsson  Moulson

 

Scandella  Ristolainen

McCabe  Antipin

Beaulieu  Bogosian (Falk)

Gorges  Tennyson (Waiver after practice)

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