Winnipeg Jets left-winger Evander Kane put his skates on for the first time Monday since the NHL season ended and since having surgery in mid-June on his foot to relieve pressure on a nerve.
The 21-year-old sniper was in town for a checkup and took the opportunity at the team's summer development camp to go on the ice as a "guest" coach.
"I think with my specific injury, it being a nerve problem, there's not too much you can do for that," Kane said Monday. "Rest and not aggravating it, that's the biggest thing."
Kane said simply he's four weeks into the rehab of an injury that should take "six to eight weeks" to get over.
"As long as I don't feel any pain I can keep going but once I do, I'll have to get off," he said.
Kane, coming off a season of 17 goals, said he has no doubt he'll be ready for main training camp in September.
"Oh yeah. I don't think that's going to be a problem unless, as I said, there's a setback," he said. "These are things you're going to have to be patient with.
"It's a very rare injury from what I've been told. They don't see it too often."
Since the entry draft, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has made two trades, for right-wingers Devin Setoguchi and Michael Frolik, both candidates to play with Kane.
"I don't necessarily know it's for making my situation better but I think with those two guys, you just got a guy who's won a Stanley Cup and then a guy who was a 30-goal scorer a couple of years ago," Kane said. "So those are two good pieces to add to our team. It adds a lot of depth, more than we had and I'm looking forward to getting out on the ice with all the new faces."
Monday, Kane's presence gave the team's 43 prospects in town for camp a chance to interact with an experienced and successful NHLer.
"I wasn't really doing too much coaching, to be honest, just talking to the players, help out when I can and jump in and shake a little rust off," Kane said. "It's fun. I've got a whistle. Maybe I'll get to use it at some point."
As for advice he might give the prospects?
"Just come out here and show what they've got, that's first and foremost," he said. "Obviously it's a development camp but they want to show the fans and the management what they bring to the talbe. Just go out there and work hard, that's the biggest thing. They're here for a reason. Sometimes they get nervous and double-clutch the puck or second-guess ... If you just relax and go and have some fun, you'll do well."
And clearly Kane is presently in a good mental state in the off-season.
His humour was in top form, especially after he was asked a question about the potential to play with 20-year-old centre Mark Scheifele, a camp participant, in the season to come.
"I was actually telling Mark (today) where I want the puck on my stick exactly," Kane began mischievously. "I think he missed the first six passes, didn't even hit my blade. So that was a bit of a concern for me.
"But by the end of the practice, he started to get the hang of it, we worked on some rushes, and I think he could be ready, yeah. He's a good passer. He has a good shot; we don't want him to use it that much, though. He's got a good shot when I give him the odd pass. Looking forward to seeing him hopefully in our lineup."