Posted December 20, 2011 on
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The Buffalo Sabres are struggling in net. For the rest of Buffalo's battered lineup, it comes at a bad time.
The Sabres hope to have leading goal-scorer Thomas Vanek available when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night after he missed practice to begin the week.
Vanek, who has 17 goals, missed practice Monday due to an upper-body injury. Coach Lindy Ruff said Vanek is likely to play Tuesday, but nine Buffalo players are injured and only 10 Sabres forwards skated in practice, prompting the club to call up Derek Whitmore and Marcus Foligno from AHL Rochester
"I think we can (overcome the injuries)," right wing Jason Pominville said. "We might need a priest to come in the room and give us a little more luck that way. But we don't want to use any excuses."
This is the fourth meeting between these Northeast Division rivals, with two of the first three having gone past regulation. After Buffalo won the first two, Ottawa defeated the Sabres 3-2 in overtime last Tuesday on Jared Cowen's goal 45 seconds into the extra session.
Despite the outcome, it was a rare solid defensive game for the Sabres this month. Buffalo (16-13-3) has dropped five of eight in December, giving up 31 goals in those contests with goaltenders Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth both struggling.
Miller was pulled twice in an 8-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. He gave up five goals on 15 shots, although he was not charged with the loss. Enroth wasn't much better, stopping eight of 11 shots.
It's been a tough season for Miller, who is 8-6-2 with a 3.12 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. Nearly two years removed from the Vancouver Olympics and winning the Veznia Trophy, he ranks 37th among qualifying goaltenders in GAA and 32nd in save percentage.
While coach Lindy Ruff said he doesn't believe Miller is showing the effects of a November concussion, he also wouldn't rule out the possibility.
"I believe he's healthy, but I've definitely seen in the past guys come off head injuries and in some cases it's weeks, some cases it's even longer before they play well," Ruff said.
Ottawa (15-14-4) also played its last game against the Penguins, but with a better result, scoring five goals in the second period en route to a 6-4 win. Jason Spezza finished with two goals and two assists while Cowen added a goal and three assists.
The Senators, who will now try to win consecutive games for the first time this month, are also having defensive troubles. They've given up four or more goals five times in their last six games.
Center Kyle Turris, whom Ottawa acquired from Phoenix over the weekend, is hoping to debut for his new team Tuesday. The third overall pick in the 2007 draft, Turris had 25 points in 65 games last season for the Coyotes. He missed the beginning of this season due to a contract dispute, then played limited minutes in six games.
"It's a lot different (type of) pressure, but I'm ready for it and I'm excited to get started," Turris said.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek missed practice on Monday due to an upper body injury.
While Vanek is expected to play against the Northeast Division rival Ottawa Senators, the Sabres elected to call up a pair of players from Rochester of the American Hockey League.
Vanek, 27, has a team-leading 17 goals to go along with 17 assists and 30 penalty minutes this season.
The Sabres are in Toronto today. Its a day off following the disappointing 4-1 loss in Ottawa on Tuesday night.
According to sabres.com, Thomas Vanek is not on the ice right now
Derek Whitmore is running the left Vanek's wing, alongside Roy and Pominville.
Marcus Foligno was sent back to Rochester.
"Chewie" isn't on the ice now. I would not be surprised...
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News, The players keep saying they need to work harder, then forget to do it. The former all-world goaltender is near the bottom of the NHL in every category. The coach continues to stare at his long injured list.
There is a mix of frustration, anger, disappointment and resignation in Sabreland. It all came out this weekend after an 8-3 loss to Pittsburgh...
Busy past couple of hours at First Niagara Center.
More about the aftermath and fall out of the Pittsburgh dud on Saturday night.
The lead story at this hour is that Thomas Vanek was held out of practice today.
Lots of speculation fluttered through the air as the team was on the ice.
Lindy Ruff just informed us that Vanek has been nursing an "upper body" injury...
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News, Pegula ought to be mad. It’s time he did something about it. He needs to shake things up. There’s no culture of accountability in that operation. This is the 15th year of Regier and Ruff. It’s a culture of contentment, in which people become too comfortable, and it trickles down to the players.
Do something. I would have fired Regier...
Buffalo Sabres' leading goal-scorer Thomas Vanek missed practice due to an upper-body injury, leading the team to call up two players from the minors on Monday.
Much has been made lately about the Sabres play at home. News reporters, fans, and hockey pundits everywhere have been quick to point out the flaws of the team at the F'N Center. However, there's something else that's been bothering me about the games in Buffalo. It's a factor that's not on the ice.
Its the fans sitting in their seats.
Ever since last...
The Buffalo Sabres today announced that the team’s “Road Crew” will be making its next “Tour Stop” of the 2011-12 season on Jan. 17 in Chicago, prior to the team’s game against the Blackhawks on Jan. 18.
Tonight's Sabres/Senators meeting has a little more meaning to it than usual.
The depleted Sabres lineup is full of rookies looking to show what they got. It'll be Marcus vs. Nick in the battle of the Foligno's tonight.
"If Marcus scores Iâll do the leap," said Lindy Ruff. "Put the camera on the bench boys." Let's hope Marcus does indeed...
I told you yesterday afternoon that Ryan Miller and Jason Pominville admitted that they had not heard about owner Terry Pegula's pointed comments. The Vezina goal tender and the team captain obviously did not read the Buffalo News on Sunday or Monday. Pominville admitted that he had not heard the comments. Ditto Miller. One thing is for certain: the Sabres players do not read the newspaper....
Ryan Miller rebounded nicely after being pulled against Pittsburgh, but his 35 saves were not enough as the Sabres suffered yet another defeat as they lost to the Ottawa Senators 4-1.
Jordan Leopold tallied the Sabres only goal in the second period.
It was yet another night in which the Sabres had to rely on a team being infiltrated by “little Sabres”, including two new members...
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced tonight that forwards Derek Whitmore and Marcus Foligno have been recalled from the Rochester America...