SUNRISE, Fla. – Standout defenseman Mark Pysyk, just sent back to the AHL by the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, collapsed Saturday during a pickup basketball game with Amerks teammates at Blue Cross Arena and spent several hours at Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital before being released.
A brief statement issued by the Amerks early Saturday evening said Pysyk was “doing well.” It did not give any indication what caused the incident, what kind of treatment was administered or what Pysyk’s playing status would be for the rest of the season.
A hospital spokesman confirmed Pysyk was brought into the facility’s emergency room and was treated and released, but said any discussion of the treatment had to come through the teams.
Word came shortly after the Sabres’ 5-3 loss to Florida that Pysyk had been discharged from the hospital. Sabres coach Ted Nolan told reporters a couple of players had received texts from Pysyk as well.
“It seems everything is OK and that’s a great thing,” Nolan said.
According to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, observers said that Pysyk, 23, fell to his knees and paramedics were called when he collapsed. The Amerks were not skating Saturday, and the players were using the court set up for a game of the semipro Rochester Razorsharks after having a team breakfast.
The newspaper’s report said Pysyk was “fairly alert” and his vital signs were “close to normal” when he was transported by paramedics to the hospital.
Pysyk is an Edmonton native who captained the Edmonton Oil Kings to the Western Hockey League championship in 2012. When word of Pysyk’s situation spread, the Oil Kings tweeted, “Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Mark Pysyk. Get well soon, Captain.”
Pysyk played 18 minutes, 19 seconds for the Sabres in Thursday’s win over Vancouver and played a regular shift for the Amerks in Friday’s overtime loss to Toronto (ice time stats are not kept in the AHL). He has no known history of any health concerns since the Sabres drafted him No. 1 in 2010.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Nolan said there was no indication anything was amiss with Pysyk.
“No history I’m aware of,” Nolan said. “You just hope and pray that everything is going to be OK and it’s just maybe something less serious than it could be.”
Pysyk took his morning skate in Buffalo Friday before heading to Rochester to play in the Amerks game Friday night.
“I spoke to him after the game and spoke to him again the next morning,” Nolan said, referring to the Vancouver game and Friday’s skate. “He seemed to be in good spirits. He skated with us before we left. He seemed fine.”
Sabres defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who was Pysyk’s partner during the games this week, also said there was zero indication of any physical trouble.
“I would have no clue. He seemed fine to me,” said Meszaros. “He played very well. That would be news to me. He was unbelievable. I enjoyed playing with him. It was fun to see him come up and play well like he did.”
The Amerks are off until Wednesday’s game at Utica. They play Friday at Hamilton and are then idle until hosting Hamilton on March 13.
With Pysyk assigned back to the AHL, Nikita Zadorov’s three-game exile as a healthy scratch for the Sabres ended Saturday. Zadorov sat out the last two games after arriving late for last Sunday morning’s team meeting in advance of Buffalo’s shootout loss to Nashville. Zadorov played 15:09 and had a plus-1 rating.
Tyler Ennis (lower body) missed his second straight game but skated in the pregame warmups, and Nolan said there’s a good chance he could play Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.
The game marked the Florida debut of veteran Jaromir Jagr, who was acquired from New Jersey on Wednesday. Jagr had an assist for Pittsburgh during the first home game in Panthers history in 1993 at the old Miami Arena. He did not have a point for Florida Saturday, collecting three shots on goal in 17:09 of ice time.
“It’s kind of tough without practice or preparation to go right to the game, an important one too,” Jagr said. “We need every point we can get. It was something new for me, jumping in without a practice.”
Jagr’s linemates were Aleksander Barkov, 19, and Jonathan Huberdeau, 21 – with a combined age three years younger than the 43-year-old Jagr. Incredibly, Jagr had already won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh before either were born. Jagr’s trip South made the Panthers his eighth career team.
“I’ve got a lot of experience, but there’s a lot of young guys,” Jagr said. “It makes me excited. It’s like a new life. They’re good players. They make it a lot easier for me.”
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Panthers also acquired veteran winger Dany Heatley and a second-round draft pick from Anaheim for Tomas Fleischmann.
After going 0-12 in January, the Sabres finished 5-6-2 in February, just missing their first winning month since going 8-4 in April, 2013. ... Zach Bogosian led Buffalo in ice time at 27:35. ... The contest was the 900th NHL game for veteran Panthers defenseman and former Sabre Brian Campbell. Oddly enough, Campbell’s 800th game was also against Buffalo on Jan. 9, 2014 in First Niagara Center. Campbell played a team-high 23:41 and had assists on Brandon Pirri’s pair of second-period power-play goals. ... Former Sabres winger Brad Boyes had three assists.