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Vanek ready to return for Sabres; Kaleta unfazed by insults

By John Vogl

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Thomas Vanek is ready to attempt to help the NHL's worst power play.

The Sabres' leading scorer will be back in the lineup tonight against Carolina after missing two games with an upper-body injury. He worked on the first power-play unit with Steve Ott, Tyler Ennis, Jason Pominville and T.J. Brennan, who will replace Adam Pardy in the lineup.

"Anytime a power play struggles, which it is right now, it's simplifying, getting pucks to the net, getting in front," said Vanek, whose team is in a 3-for-59 slump with the man advatange. "That's what I'm going to try to do again tonight is be in front, tip pucks, screen pucks, screen the goalie.

"We have the right guys to be successful. It's just right now it's just too slow and wanting that cute play."

Patrick Kaleta, meanwhile, skated with his teammates for the first time since getting suspended five games for boarding the Rangers' Brad Richards on Sunday. He remains unapologetic about the play, which has been roundly criticized.

"A lot of people are calling me scumbags, dirty hockey player, but I play hard, I play on the edge," Kaleta said in PNC Arena. "It doesn't define me as a person. It defines one play that could be controversial either way.

"They can call me whatever the heck they want to call me. People know me as a person. I know you guys, people in Buffalo see me as a hockey player, how I've grown, what I'm like on and off the ice. You guys know what kind of person I am. They don't. They see one play and they judge a player and how you are as a person on that one play, which to me is unfair.

"But people have many opinions and I know a lot of negative toward me, but I play for my teammates, my city."

In other news, Ryan Miller will remain in goal for the Sabres and John Scott will be the other healthy scratch.

Patrick Kaleta

Ron Rolston

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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.

@amymoritz |