Victor Antipin said he wasn't scared when he woke up from the hit that ended his season.
“Who, me scared? No. I didn’t remember what happened.”
Antipin was one of three Sabres defensemen who finished the season on the shelf -- joined by Zach Bogosian and Jake McCabe. His year ended in the most dramatic fashion of the trio, as he took a hard hit from behind by Nashville Predators forward Scott Hartnell on March 31. He suffered a concussion and a broken nose and had to be stretchered off the ice.
“I woke up on the ice maybe after three minutes,” said Antipin, who spoke to media for the first time since the hit at locker cleanout day Monday.
Antipin, who played 47 games with the Sabres in his rookie season, said he's seen the hit on television. He said he wasn't surprised Hartnell wasn't suspended or fined and wasn't sure if he thought the hit was dirty. That ties back to the memory issue.
"Maybe I was relaxed," Antipin said. "I don’t know. I didn’t remember it.”
Luckily, the collision wasn't as severe as it originally looked. Antipin said Monday it was a quick recovery.
Even before the injury, the Russian defenseman spent much of the season watching as a healthy scratch. He said he hasn't decided whether he'll be in the NHL or KHL next season but would be open to staying in North America.
Bogosian is by far the most oft-injured of the ailing defenseman. He only played in 18 games this season -- the fewest in his career -- after suffering an early-season lower-body injury and undergoing a season-ending hip injury in late January.
"No one wants to get surgery, but I'm glad I got it done," Bogosian said. "I can come back healthy and ready to go next year."
Bogosian hasn't played more than 64 games in his three full seasons in Buffalo. He's also played fewer games than the year prior in all three campaigns.
"I've had a tough go at it but I try to remain positive," Bogosian said. "The group of guys in there have helped me through some pretty dark days, not being able to play."
Bogosian said he won't rush the recovery process but expects to skate by late May. He said he's also open to playing in Da Beauty League, a Minnesota-based 4-on-4 league that many NHL players participate in during July and August.
McCabe has been out since late February after undergoing surgery to repair a nagging shoulder injury. He's out of his sling now and said he should be ready to go by October.
"The first month is in the past now so I can start moving along with my rehab," McCabe said. "The year sucked. It was very disappointing. Physically it was a grind obviously dealing with a couple of injuries. Mentally it was a grind as well."
McCabe played 53 games this season, recording three goals and nine assists.