Evander Kane returns to the Thrashers lineup Tuesday against the New York Islanders from what is now being called an “upper-body” injury.” Kane may have missed the past four games with a concussion after taking a blow to the head two weeks ago.
Kane’s last game was Jan. 17 against in Florida. In that game, Kane suffered a hit to the head by the Panthers’ Rostislav Olesz. With less than four minutes left in the first period, Kane was chasing a puck behind the Panthers net with Dennis Wideman and Olesz skated in and hit Kane in the face with his left shoulder. Kane left the game but returned and assisted on Chris Thorburn’s game-tying goal with 1:14 left. The Thrashers won in a shootout to cap the dramatic victory.
Despite the fact the hit occurred on Jan. 17, the injury was not revealed as an “upper body” injury until Jan. 25 – after Kane had already missed three games. It was released as part of a team injury update that included the news that defenseman Tobias Enstrom would miss 2-4 weeks with a broken finger on his right hand.
The upper-body injury was not related to the “mid-body” injury Kane suffered in December.
“I didn’t get re-injured,” said Kane, who missed three games earlier his season with a hip injury after being checked in Pittsburgh on Dec. 28. “I took a good shot to the face. It was kind of where my body wasn’t particularly healed. The rest helped and we took the time to use the [All-Star] break to my advantage and heal up.”
Kane is one of three Thrashers tied for second on the team with 13 goals. Bryan Little and Rich Peverley also have 13, three goals behind team leaders Dustin Byuglien and Andrew Ladd.
“I had time to rest and get healthy,” Kane said. “[Returning before the break for the Washington game] might have been pushing it a little bit. We made a good decision of letting me rest.
“Sitting out is probably the worst thing. I don’t like it at all. With that injury I had earlier I sat out three or four games. Now with this one, it’s definitely frustrating.”
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said Kane will bring more speed to the lineup.
“He should be pumped up to play,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “He’s been out for a bit. He can’t play carefully. He’s got to go in there and bang around a little bit and get some pucks on the net. He’s got some speed. He’s got a shot. He can get to the net. We need to see him go out there and give us a spark.”
In other news:
* With Kane back in the lineup, Eric Boulton will be the team’s healthy scratch against the Islanders.
* Goaltender Chris Mason, who has been out with a MCL sprain of his right knee, worked with trainers before the team’s morning skate. He took part in the practice with the team, splitting time with recently recalled Drew MacIntryre. Mason did not appear limited in the practice, facing shots and breakaways.
* Enstrom did some conditioning work on the ice prior to the practice.
* Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal.
* Dustin Byfuglien returned for the practice. He took Monday off after returning from the All-Star Game.
* Here were the line combinations: