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Tough start for Sabres: Thomas Vanek might be injured

Mar 31, 2012, 8:03 PM EDT

Thomas Vanek Getty Images

There is still plenty of time left but Saturday night hasn’t gotten off to a great start for the Buffalo Sabres. As John Vogl points out, they went down 1-0 to the lowly Maple Leafs in Toronto during the first period – on a shorthanded goal, no less – and might be without their richly paid sniper. Vogl and others point out that Thomas Vanek “went to the dressing room,” which is code for “could be injured.”

Update: the good news is that Vanek’s been back in action. The bad news is that, relatively speaking, he looks a little sluggish/out of it.

To make matters just a little bit worse, the Washington Capitals lead the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in front of a Verizon Center crowd that has been boisterous regarding the return of Nicklas Backstrom. (Oh yeah, the Ottawa Senators also beat the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout today, to rub a little more salt in the wound.)

Naturally, if the stretch run is teaching us anything, it’s that early results don’t mean everything. Vanek could be OK and a one-goal deficit (or lead) is far from a sure thing.

Still, this isn’t exactly the way Buffalo wanted things to begin.

  1. 8man - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Semin scores in the shootout to lift Caps to the win. Buffalo drops two straight after greasing the Caps on their own ice. Caps have the lead in points and the tie breaker. Sad really, not sure the Caps are worthy of anything considering their horridly inconsistant efforts.

    That being said, if you are the Sabres and your playoff life is on the line, you absolutely, positively, cannot lose to Toronto. Too many tough teams on their remaining schedule and the Bruins will be more than happy to pound the final nail into the coffin. Sabres done. Caps in. Bank it.

  2. Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 1, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Sabres done, Caps in, Bruins suck. Some things never change. Marchand still looks like a goof

    • 8man - Apr 1, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      If by suck you mean current Stanley Cup Champions capturing the division, going to the playoffs and attempting to defend the Cup, yes, they suck intensely.

      • Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 1, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        No they just suck. The only time they are relevant to beantowners is when they win a title.

      • 8man - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Dude, they’ve been relevant to me since the mid-seventies. I’m still pissed about the too many men on the ice penalty against the Habs in the ’79 semis. And I can’t tell you how much I hate the frickin’ Oilers.

  3. Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Let me explain it to you son. The Boston RedSox are the most beloved sports team in Boston. Then it’s the Celtics, based largely on the Red Auerbach era with Cousy, Russell, Havlichek, Brown, et all. The Patriots were a non-factor until the started winning under Belichek. Remember the pasting they took from the ’85 Bears with Steve Grogan leading the way. Now to the Bruins. To hockey fans they are most beloved. But in there own city they still come up 4th unless they win which they didn’t do a lot of in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. It started to turn when they got an 18 yr old kid from Oshawa and added guys like Esposito, Hodge, Cashman, Sanderson, Vadnais. They won the Cup in 70 and 72 and then nothing until last year. As a season ticket holder to the Sabres since 1970 I hated those Bruins, but as a hockey fan I respected them. I find that most fans in most cities only see their team as the best and every other team sucks. That’s what fans do. Get used to it. But the facts are what they are.

    • 8man - Apr 4, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      Well fan suport and interest does wax and wane. I suppose that is natural. And clearly they took a back seat to the Red Sox and Patriots in the last decade. And everyone took a back seat to the Celtics in their hey day. But prior to the Celts 2008 title, I think the Bruins were drawing better than the Celtics. And as a kid, I knew the Patriots were hopeless. They were usually eliminated from the NFL playoffs just about the time hockey started and the Red Sox season ended. I’ve been getting Center Ice every year since Comcast made it available. Granted the fact that I get baseball free until the Stanley Cup is over helps make it a better deal, but it’s mostly been to watch the Bruins. Last year, it finally paid off. That being said, Boston sports fans have been very fortunate the last 10 years. We’ll see how things go as each team begins to drop off.

      • Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 5, 2012 at 5:38 PM

        Wow a fan that actually took the time to read a comment, analyze it, and respond. Kudos to you. Boston has been fortunate to have sucessful teams over the last decade but as time goes on it becomes more difficult to keep the status quo. Mutual respect from a Buffalo sports fan, which has not been easy.

    • 8man - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:08 AM

      Thank you. I’m 48 and until 2002, Larry Bird and his Celtics were really all I had. The Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots had championship chances, but all came up short. Some miserably so. I’ve actually joked with some people about giving up following pro sports altogether, because it’ll never be as good as it is now. I live in Baltimore, and my kid is an Oriole fan. I’d like to take him to a parade in the city in which he was born one day.

      And boy, has Buffalo had it tough. After that loss to the Giants, I was sure they’d kick the Redskins’ asses the following year. And the Sabres got hosed against the Stars. I can’t believe the sports Gods will continue to deny your teams. My condolences on the Sabres. They showed a lot of heart, but they lost too many man games to injury early and left themselves little room for error when they finally got healthy.

      Here is all I can say. In 2001 when Bledsoe went down to injury the Patriots were 0-2. In 2003, the Red Sox left Pedro in too long in game 7 of the ALCS and watched a trip to the World Series fly into the night off of an Aaron Boone bat. In 2010, the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead in games and 3-0 lead in goals in game 7 to the Flyers. It’s always so dark, before the rays of hope break through.

  4. Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Lets hope so

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