It’s felt like forever since we last saw Tyler Ennis play in a game. The three-time 20-goal scorer has played in Buffalo for seven seasons, but had his season derailed due to a couple of hits that caused concussions.
The first was from Robert Bertuzzo, which looked harmless:
The second hit he took from Alex Ovechkin would turn Ennis’ world upside down:
Ennis went on to finish his shift, but went straight to the locker room after and hasn’t played a game since then. He took time to recover, but the symptoms kept lingering. He dealt with seizures, dizziness and was unable to drive.
Ennis continually skated and practiced at the rink, and slowly started to make progress. Toward the end of this past season, Ennis was eager to get back on the ice, but with the Sabres out of the playoff race, the organization determined it would be best to wait.
Now, Ennis appears 100 percent ready to go this season. He spoke about his recovery period and how he is feeling on Tuesday after a skate at Perry Pearn’s annual 3-on-3 pro camp. He spoke with the Edmonton Journal about it.
“Now I feel better than 100 percent. I had good doctors with lots of great care from lots of people. I’ve had a lot of time to head. I’ve had a long summer of training. Being a smaller guy, I got dinged around growing up and maybe I had some concussions before, but these were the first NHL ones.” – Tyler Ennis
Ennis is known for being a small, fast and quick player, but his 5’9″ and 160 pound may not have helped him in the instances above. He has never worn a mouthguard, but said because of the two hits that he’ll always be wearing one from now on.
Ennis will only be 27 by the time the season starts and has already proved that he can put up close to 50 points a season. As he enters what many would consider his prime years (based on age), Ennis could make some noise this season and find a comfortable spot in the top six.
It’s easy to overlook him, especially with the spotlight on guys like Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane. This puts Ennis in a great position as he can give the second line a big boost and lead by example.
There’s no guarantee a player will return to form after something like a concussion, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a chance. Ennis is ready to go and could be a huge part of this team’s success this season.
“Most players play on more than one team, but my play is to stay in Buffalo forever.” – Tyler Ennis
After all, Tyler Ennis is a hero.