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Vanek still struggling -- but on PP

The Sabres are practicing in HSBC Arena, and Thomas Vanek still looks doubtful for a return. The left winger is skating on the fifth line with Raffi Torres and Matt Ellis.

Vanek skates in a straight line just fine, but his cutting and shooting ability are still off. A few seconds ago, he bumped into the end boards rather than stop with his left foot (and injured ankle). It would take major healing overnight to play in Game Six on Monday in Boston.

The Sabres' other lines remain the same: Tyler Ennis-Derek Roy-Jason Pominville; Tim Connolly-Paul Gaustad-Mike Grier; Drew Stafford-Tim Kennedy-Patrick Kaleta; and Nathan Gerbe-Cody McCormick-Adam Mair.

We'll have more following the skate.

11:53 a.m.: OK, I lied. We'll have more before the skate is finished. Vanek, for the first time, is getting power-play work. He and Drew Stafford are splitting shifts in front of the net with the unit anchored by Ennis, Gerbe, Tyler Myers and Craig Rivet.

Stafford played just 9:24 in Game Five, including 2:15 of power-play time. Lindy Ruff's choice may come down to which player should get limited ice time, Stafford or Vanek.

---John Vogl

Thomas Vanek grimaces slightly while skating during today's practice. (Mark Mulville / Buffalo News)


NHL | Sabres
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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