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Vanek is back but news not good on Ellis, Sekera

Thomas Vanek missed Saturday's game in Ottawa after getting crushed Thursday in Boston by Johnny Boychuk and skated this morning for the first time since the hit, but he's going to be back in the lineup tonight when the Sabres host the Montreal Canadiens.

Vanek was belted Jan. 31 by Montreal's Erik Cole and has been dealing with lingering shoulder issues for several weeks, even though he insists they have not been a factor in his rough play (just four goals in 2012).  Vanek said today the Boychuk hit caused a different problem, believed to be related to his neck.

"I didn't see him coming until I was laying on the ice," Vanek said. "It's part of the game, part  of hockey. It happens and I've got to have my head up. It was a good hockey hit.  I saw the replay and I just had my head down."

Vanek was unable to do any off-ice work while the team was in Ottawa but  said he felt much better  today.

"Each day I got a little bit better," he said. "Obviously the first couple of days after, just tight and stiff and sore. The last two days, I came a long way so I feel pretty good. i would like to play, especially this time of year it hurts missing games and watching them. We're not in a position to sit back and relax obviously."

Elsewhere on the injury front,  coach Lindy Ruff said Matt Ellis suffered a knee injury  Saturday and will  be out for an extended period. Ruff refused to call it a season-ending injury, although that's what it seems like. The news on defenseman Andrej Sekera continues to be grim, with Ruff saying he's now been diagnosed with pneumonia and has yet to leave him since he became ill. Alexander Sulzer will play his fourth straight game tonight  in Sekera's spot. Patrick Kaleta (neck) couldn't finish the game Saturday but he will play tonight.

Marcus Foligno, who scored his first career goal Saturday, will make his regular-season home debut tonight. He said his father, former Sabres captain Mike Foligno, will make the trip from his home in Sudbury, Ont., to watch the game.

Click below for audio from Vanek and Ruff, who had some interesting thoughts on comparing the Folignos.


Thomas Vanek


Lindy Ruff

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

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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 | [email protected]

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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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