"A big mistake," he said.
The Buffalo Sabres’ prospect seems eager to atone for it.
Kassian, the Sabres’ first-round pick in 2009 who was charged with assault last month, is attending the team’s development camp this week at Niagara University. His on-ice skills in Dwyer Arena have shown why the Sabres picked him 13th overall, but there’s also no doubt his off-ice moves are worth watching as well.
The 19-year-old was allegedly involved in an early morning confrontation at a bar May 30 in Windsor, Ont., with the victim suffering a bloody mouth and chipped tooth. After examining the evidence, police charged Kassian with assault June 2.
"Yeah, it’s been tough, but I’ve learned from it," Kassian said. "I’m just trying to get better day in and day out, and my main focus right now is to leave a good impression and make this team."
The altercation occurred shortly after Kassian and the Windsor Spitfires won the Memorial Cup as champions of junior hockey. He said he’s learned "how fast things can turn around on you and not to take anything for granted."
Kassian and the Sabres were working toward his first professional contract prior to the incident. Afterward, the team decided to temporarily suspend negotiations with the 6-foot-3, 210-pound right winger.
"They were upset, obviously," Kassian said. "No team likes to hear that news. But I’m young. It’s a mistake. It’s a big mistake, but I’ve learned from it and I think I’ve become a better person from it."