Sabres' Kane trying to figure out his slump

January 31, 2018
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Evander Kane had a great offensive start to the season. He scored 12 goals in his first 21 games, but only has four in his last 29 games. Kane does not have a goal in 10 games and has just one in 14. Kane said, “I haven’t created much offensively in the last little bit. Obviously it’s not fun when you’re not producing, but it’s part of a long year and we have a substantial amount of games left and we can turn it around.”

Scoring goals can get into your head. I think it can happen when the puck is going in and also when it’s not. Kane said, “Confidence obviously helps, especially when things are going in, you’re feeling good about things and when it’s not, you’ve just got to keep your confidence because if that goes, it can really prolong things and other parts of your game can suffer too, so for me, I’m staying confident in what I can do.”

Kane knows he will likely be traded before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. One wonders if that has an effect on his game. Kane said, “It’s not something I try to block out, I think I just try to embrace it and realize it’s part of my every day now.”

Phil Housley said there are a few things he’d like to see Kane get back to. Housley moved Kane to the left wing with Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo for Wednesday’s practice. The head coach said, “He hasn’t gotten the puck a lot in the middle because they know he’s got a quick release, but even shots from the point, I think he can sink down there and maybe try to get a rebound and get in there a little bit more into the paint area.

“I think a lot of times he can use his speed a little bit better, attacking with wide speed and try to get some shots off, but I’ve never had a problem with his shot mentality."

As far as putting Kane back with Eichel, Housley said, “I think they had good chemistry early and it was a change to maybe spark Evander. We’re going to need 5-on-5 scoring moving ahead here, especially playing some good checking teams, so it’s a move to try to mix it up a little bit.”

Wednesday was kid’s day at practice with around 3,000 kids in attendance. They didn’t see a very good start to practice and Housley put an end to it quickly, “It was tough because you’re coming off a game where you got a little bit outcompeted in the battle level, we addressed that.

“I would’ve like to have seen a better start, but I think with all the kids there, it was hard for them to hear me, so that’s one of the reasons I had to stop practice because I was looking for some more speed and I think from that point, it got a lot better.

“I shouldn’t have to address our team today and give them the reaction where we should’ve been better and ready to play."

The lines changed up for practice.

 

Kane  Eichel  Okposo

Wilson  O’Reilly  Reinhart

Girgensons (Pouliot)  Larsson  Pominville

Nolan  Josefson (Rodrigues)  Baptiste

 

Scandella  Ristolainen

McCabe  Antipin

Gorges  Nelson

Beauleau  Falk