OTTAWA – Suspended for the Buffalo Sabres' game against the Ottawa Senators, Evander Kane publicly owned up to his actions after taking the ice with his teammates Tuesday morning at Canadian Tire Centre. Kane overslept and missed practice on Monday, a mistake he himself called "irresponsible."
Personal apologies were directed to the appropriate parties – his coaches, management an d his teammates.
"That was probably the hardest thing with everything that went on, was I let them down," he said. "I'm obviously extremely disappointed in myself not being able to go out with them and battle tonight against Ottawa. I addressed them yesterday as a group and I couldn’t have asked much more from them than the reception I got from them and just how supportive they were.
"It's something that should've never happened. It's something that I can promise won't happen again and it's something that I'm definitely going to learn from."
The subtraction of Kane from the Sabres' lineup will coincide with the addition of Johan Larsson, who has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said that having Larsson return to a matchup role against the Senators' top lines will free up the rest of the offense.
"We've used Larsson, looking at the last 15 games at the center position, in a shutdown role," Bylsma said. "To be able to have that in place, especially on the road, is a big key for our team. It allows us to free up Ryan O'Reilly's line in a lot of defensive situations. Even last game, I think we missed having that."
Robin Lehner will start in net for the Sabres, coming off a 34-save performance in their win over Colorado on Sunday. Lehner earned his first victory of the season against the Senators – his former team – exactly three weeks ago.
Coverage on Tuesday begins at 7 p.m. with Tops Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B and Bell TV. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550.
The Senators' lineup has changed a bit since the Sabres last saw them, particularly in the addition of defenseman Dion Phaneuf, whom they acquired in a nine-player trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 9.
"I think he adds a substantial amount to their backend, second pairing if you want to call it a second pairing with [defenseman Cody Ceci]," Bylsma said. "He's a big-bodied guy, hard-playing defender and one guy you always have to keep your eye on."
The results thus far haven’t been exactly what the Senators expected. They've lost three games in a row since acquiring Phaneuf and now sit eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They'll be desperate for a win when the Sabres meet them on Tuesday night.
"This is a team you can't let run free," Bylsma said. "You can't let them come at you with their speed and skill and they come at you from all angles."
88 Jamie McGinn – 90 Ryan O'Reilly – 23 Sam Reinhart
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 15 Jack Eichel – 26 Matt Moulson
82 Marcus Foligno – 22 Johan Larsson – 12 Brian Gionta
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 17 David Legwand – 56 Justin Bailey
4 Josh Gorges – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe – 47 Zach Bogosian
3 Mark Pysyk – 46 Cody Franson
40 Robin Lehner
31 Chad Johnson