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FRIDAY NOTEBOOK

Vanek is questionable for Saturday; Ruff juggles lines

Friday, 03.09.2012 / 4:50 PM / News
By Kevin Snow  - Sabres.com
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FRIDAY NOTEBOOK

KANATA, ONT. – It appears that the upper body injury to Sabres forward Thomas Vanek isn’t as serious as initially thought.

Speaking after practice today at the Bell Sensplex facility, head coach Lindy Ruff said Vanek is questionable for tomorrow’s game against Ottawa, following a solid check by Boston’s Johnny Boychuk just inside the Sabres blueline with 10 minutes left in Thursday’s game.

“Thomas is okay, just a little bit sore. He’s doing okay,” said Ruff.

When asked if Vanek would be able to play on Saturday, Ruff said: “I can’t answer that question right now. I guess it will all depend on how he’s feeling tomorrow.”

LISTEN TO COMPLETE RUFF AUDIO

In other player news, Andrej Sekera’s condition has actually worsened and he’s staying in Buffalo for further tests. Ruff said they are trying determine if Sekera has a severe case of the flu or something more than that.

Patrick Kaleta was given a maintenance day to rest because Ruff said he’s been nagged by his recurring neck issues lately. He’s not expected to miss Saturday’s game.



Newcomer Cody Hodgson found himself promoted to the top line today, part of a series of changes that Ruff made to the forward combinations at Friday’s practice. Hodgson will skate between Ville Leino and Jason Pominville, while Tyler Ennis is back at center with Drew Stafford and Brad Boyes. The changes have also moved Derek Roy to center on a line with wingers Nathan Gerbe and Corey Tropp.

According to Ruff, the new trios weren’t simply the product of Vanek’s absence.

“I felt it was time. I think that Ennis played some of his best hockey in the middle," said Ruff. "We weren’t getting enough production. There were some good games from that line, but the production wasn’t there. It’s just time for a change. We know that we’re gonna have to do most of our damage on the road, so we’ve got to improve our road scoring.”

The Sabres have averaged just two goals for in their last six road games, and they are last in the NHL with 62 goals scored in 33 road games this season (1.88/game). On the flip side, Buffalo’s 99 goals for in 35 home games are good for 14th in the league.



With Vanek and Kaleta not on the ice today, Matt Ellis and Cody McCormick were only able to skate as two-thirds of a line. McCormick is ready to get back at it after missing the last 14 games with his second concussion of the season. Other than trying to improve his cardio, McCormick doesn’t have any lingering effects and is confident he can continue playing his physical style.

“I don’t think you can be tentative in this game. Yeah, I have had two concussions. It could’ve been just a fluke; I could’ve gotten through the season without one. But if I have that in the back of my head, I don’t think I’ll be playing my game. To play my game, I’ve gotta be feisty and get in the hard areas. So that’s definitely not something I want to have on my shoulders.”



The Sabres announced late Friday afternoon that forward Marcus Foligno has been recalled on an emergency basis from Rochester. This is Foligno's third emergency recall in the past eight days, including games in Vancouver (Mar. 3) and Winnipeg (Mar. 5).






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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