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VANEK EYES RETURN TO THE LINEUP

Monday, 03.02.2009 / 5:05 PM / News
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
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VANEK EYES RETURN TO THE LINEUP
Thomas Vanek (Photo: Getty Images)
After missing the last nine games with a fractured jaw, Buffalo Sabres winger Thomas Vanek said he is ready to return to the lineup.

Vanek was hurt Feb. 7 in Ottawa after being hit in the face with a puck. He returned to practice last week with the protection of a cage.

  Thomas Vanek: Audio | Video
  Lindy Ruff: Audio | Video







“I had a week of good skating, got back into the battle drills today and hopefully I can get cleared to play Wednesday [against the Montreal Canadiens],” he said.

For the Sabres, who have struggled to produce offensively as of late - registering three goals in the last three games - Vanek’s goal scoring will be welcomed. The winger is currently ranked eighth in the NHL with 32 goals through 54 games.

“It’s a big plus,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. “But I think the question is how ready is he going to be? Can he answer the physical, can he answer the conditioning? We hope he can.”

Vanek believes the injury may have worked in his favor.

“I think this is a little different because it’s not my hands or feet or anything so I was able to skate and shoot and stay pretty ready,” he said. “I don’t feel like I missed nine games.”

The three-week stretch is the longest amount of time the winger has missed in his NHL career. Prior to the jaw injury, Vanek played in all but one contest through four seasons in the League.

The winger said he will continue to wear the cage during games until the jaw is healed. He must also wear braces for another three weeks.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82