Shorthanded Sabres head to Detroit
The Buffalo Sabres will have to play the rest of the season without defenseman Jake McCabe.
Buffalo, which visits the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday, announced that McCabe will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. The estimated recovery time is four-to-six months.
McCabe had thumb surgery on Feb. 7, after leaving a 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 6, in the second period. He has been out since.
"Jake has been progressing well in his recovery from his previous injury, but we decided that this was a good opportunity to take care of a problem that he has been dealing with for a while," Sabres general manager Jason Botterill told NHL.com. "Jake will have time to fully recover before the beginning of the 2018-19 season."
McCabe has three goals and 12 points in 53 games, while averaging 19:30 of ice time per game this season.
Buffalo is also without leading scorer center Jack Eichel because of a high ankle sprain sustained on Feb. 10.
The Sabres lost 3-2 to the Washington Capitals at home on Monday.
Both teams are out of the playoff picture and are sellers as the Feb. 26 trade deadline nears. That process has already begun for Detroit, which dealt goaltender Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft and a conditional third-round pick in 2019.
The Red Wings say they will continue to play hard and to win.
"Definitely, we are not going to fold up," goalie Jimmy Howard said after Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators in Detroit.
Said coach Jeff Blashill: "My job is to coach and try and win hockey games. I'm a huge believer in controlling what you can control. I don't control anything to do with (trades). All I control is our effort and how prepared we are and how hard we play."
Both teams have a remaining player who is expected to be moved by the trade deadline. For the Red Wings, it is veteran defenseman Mike Green, who is in the third year of a three-year, $18 million contract and for the Sabres, it is left winger Evander Kane, who is in the final year of a six-year, $31.5 million deal he signed when he was a member of the Winnipeg Jets.
Green has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury but is expected to return on Thursday.
Despite his likely move, things are business as usual for Green.
"My approach to the game doesn't change," he told www.mlive.com. "I just stick to the process. Sometimes that's the only thing you can do."
Kane is taking the same approach.
"It's been talked about. It's been documented. It's unfortunate, but it's the situation we're in and part of the business," he told the Buffalo News. "I'm not thinking about it now too much. I'm trying to focus on the games we have left before the deadline. We'll deal with the move when it happens."
Updated February 21, 2018