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Vanek injury could be killer for Buffalo

Dec 23, 2011, 1:53 PM EDT

Thomas Vanek AP

In a season marred by injuries, the Sabres might’ve suffered their worst one yet.

Leading goalscorer Thomas Vanek didn’t leave the dressing room after the second intermission of last night’s 3-2 loss to Toronto. He finished with just 10:50 of ice time and didn’t record a shot on goal for the second-straight game — evidence the upper-body injury that’s kept him from practicing this week is a significant issue.

“It’s the same thing he’s been nursing. He couldn’t go,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said of Vanek leaving the contest. “He’s missed two practices. We didn’t have a lot of options. He tried to get through it and wasn’t able to.”

Nobody’s sure when or how Vanek suffered the injury, though there’s plenty of speculation trying to pinpoint it. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News notes Vanek took a hit from Pittsburgh’s James Neal just prior to scoring on Saturday; Vanek wouldn’t specify the injury, but did say he got hurt during the Penguins game.

Vanek leads the team with 17 goals and has 36 points through 34 games. Should he miss any (more) time, he’ll join Tyler Ennis, Colin Stuart, Jochen Hecht, Corey Tropp, Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Myers, Brad Boyes and Ville Leino as Sabres currently out because of injury.

  1. gnrfan8804 - Dec 23, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    A Vanek injury is very bad. He’s one of the guys actually producing for this team, a point-a-game player. Who’s gonna do the scoring now? Stafford? gasp……. Sabres don’t play until the 26th, maybe he just needs a little break.

  2. danphipps01 - Dec 23, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Dear God. And people thought the Penguins were the walking wounded. That’s just a truly astounding number of injuries. D:

  3. billyhoyle4real - Dec 23, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Watch for a trade to shake things up in Buffalo after the holiday freeze if the losing ways continue. Moving Derek Roy at $4M, Leino at $4.5M could give the Sabres the cap room to bring in a #1 Center.

  4. riles1008 - Dec 24, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    A) Stafford has more than one 30 goal year. Not that I’m arguing he’s amazing or as good as Vanek, but he can score. B) No one in their right mind would trade for Leino. He’s played like complete garbage and he’s being overpaid by 20 million dollars. C) Ruff has wayyy to much loyalty to guys like Roy, pominville etc. Highly doubt that would happen. D) The Sabres are losing BECAUSE of injuries and sub par goaltending. You’re not going to just cut bait, not even halfway into the year, and just start making trades.

  5. wez99 - Dec 24, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Stafford is playing like ass, he had one year of a 30 goal season doesn’t mean he will produce goals like a 30 goal scorer would… They are not going to trade leino, he was finally getting comfortable with the system, not to mention his line mates missing great scoring chances set up by leino, the defense needs to step up their game a little bit more instead of letting opponents skate freely around the front of the net for loose pucks, and the goaltending has been sub par, but no doubt miller came back very strong in the Toronto game, when we get healthy we will see where we really stand, the buffalo amerks are playing well but we need our veterans to start winning

  6. rabidbillsfan - Dec 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM


    Actually, the Sabres have lost 2 straight games because of the guys in front of the Goalie, not Miller. Sure, during the “Concussed Miller” period, the goaltending was bad, but Miller has showed some life in the last two. Normally thats good news for the team, however, if the team keeps up with these neutral zone turnovers and odd man rushes, having both Enroth and Miller in net at the same time wouldn’t help. A trade would be the most likely scenario. Shake things up, get some new attitude in. To be honest, Stafford could be the one to go. He is the only tweener guy, not playing horribly with no value, but also not a franchise centerpiece.

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