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More bruises in Buffalo: Thomas Vanek leaves game

Jan 10, 2012, 9:36 PM EDT

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Buffalo Sabres v Carolina Hurricanes Getty Images

Buffalo, N.Y. ranks pretty high on my “sports pity” list. It seemed like the humble little ‘burgh had some good things going with Terry Pegula’s spending spree and a surprise start for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, but as per typical, things fell apart with dizzying speed.

It certainly doesn’t seem like the Sabres are in a spot to buck that trend anytime soon, either.

If there was one Sabres forward who wasn’t letting everyone down, Thomas Vanek would probably be that guy. He’s been nearly a point-per-game player with 40 in 41, so naturally he left tonight’s game with an upper-body injury and did not return.

Barring a late comeback, it looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs will keep Buffalo firmly in 11th place in the East – at best. They managed to make a late surge from a similarly bleak situation last season, but if Vanek’s injury is serious, then the Sabres might need to acknowledge the jarring possibility of missing the postseason entirely.

It all seems shocking, but then again, maybe we should have seen this coming in luckless Buffalo.

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