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Vanek looking better for opener

Thomas Vanek didn't skate with a line at practice today in HSBC Arena but he skated early and then went through the full workout, including some drills. So it's looking like a pretty decent bet he'll be ready for Friday night's season opener in Ottawa.

"Today was a good test for me and it felt fine," said Vanek, who suffered a neck injury Thursday in Montreal. "Hopefully I can be back full time tomorrow."

"I think today was a good step for him to get back on the ice," said coach Lindy Ruff. 

Ruff also said backup goalie Patrick Lalime had a good day and may be ready as well. Jhonas Enroth will probably practice again tomorrow and then the Sabres will have to make a decision about Lalime by Wednesday's 3 p.m. roster cutdown deadline.

Ruff said no decision has been made about the defense pairs even though Mike Weber skated with Craig Rivet and Chris Butler-Andrej Sekera was the fourth pair. "That is today," Ruff said.

Ruff confirmed the Sabres have waived Matt Ellis and want him to get to Portland. "The way that Ennis and Gerbe have both played in the preseason put [Ellis] in the situation he's in now," Ruff said.

The coach also said the team will keep 23 players at least in the short term, rather than the 22 GM Darcy Regier talked about over the summer. 

---Mike Harrington

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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.

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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.

@amymoritz |