OTTAWA -- Thomas Vanek was the only "healthy" Sabres regular to stay away from practice today in Scotiabank Place.
"He’s in the shop for maintenance," said coach Lindy Ruff, who added Vanek will be fine to play against the Senators on Wednesday.
There are Vanek critics who might look at his absence as a sign of laziness. But he took a beating in Montreal, and Ruff said the game was part of a quality run. The left winger has just one goal and four assists in his past eight games, but the coach is looking beyond that.
"His play the last 10 days has been the best I’ve ever seen him," Ruff said. "It’s been the most physical. It’s been the most dedicated. He has really played hard away from the puck.
"I think sometimes you get in situations where you get a label. It can come from his younger days. It could come from some plays away from the puck where he’s thinking offense and it looks lazy, but he’s thinking one thing and the perception is another. I think that happens a lot with skill guys. There’s a lot of skill guys that criticized for those plays. But I think these last five, six games is the best I’ve ever seen him play."