PITTSBURGH -- Thomas Vanek will not play tonight, Lindy Ruff said after today's morning skate. Vanek, Buffalo's leading scorer (23-32-55), is the player who came down with the flu after Sunday's win in Minnesota.
"Thomas has got the flu pretty bad," Ruff said. "He hasn't left the hotel yet. No chance."
So the Sabres are suddenly very depleted for tonight's game against the Penguins. Vanek, Jochen Hecht, Mike Grier and Patrick Kaleta are all out. Mark Mancari played Sunday and he's joined tonight by fellow Portland Pirates Luke Adam and Mark Parrish.
"We need Mark to come in and play well," Ruff said. "We need Luke too. Obviously. we've got almost half their team there. They've been going good. Hopefully, it's good for us."
Adam has been at wing recently in Portland and may start there tonight on a line with Brad Boyes and Drew Stafford. Paul Gaustad-Tim Connolly-Jason Pominville and Mark Mancari-Tyler Ennis-Nathan Gerbe also skated together this morning. But knowing Ruff, those combos could be scrapped in one rotation so we'll see.
Vanek will be a loss to the power play and Hecht, Grier and Kaleta have seen major penalty-killing time so Ruff said some new forwards will be called upon in that role tonight.
Jhonas Enroth remains with the team so the Sabres don't need to use another recall from the AHL. Ruff said Enroth will play again this weekend, either Saturday in Toronto or Sunday at home against Ottawa.
Parrish, 34, is coming off back-to-back four-point games in Portland and will skate with Cody McCormick and Rob Niedermayer. He was signed to a tryout offer in training camp and the Sabres tucked him away in the minors, where he overcame a torn groin that cost him several weeks to post 35 points in 42 games. Parrish has 216 NHL goals, including six 20-goal seasons and a career-high 30 with the New York Islanders in 2001-02.
Here's audio from Parrish today: