Thomas Vanek hasn’t gotten a chance to gel with a consistent pair of linemates since he returned from an upper body injury five games ago, but things got a bit more complicated on Friday. He warmed the bench for most of the first period because Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t happy with a cross-checking penalty that he took. However, he’ll get a chance to redeem himself while playing on Buffalo’s top line Sunday.
Vanek has been at his best this season when playing alongside Jason Pominville, so this could prove to be a big boost for him. Of course, it remains to be seen if Vanek, who has 46 penalty minutes in 55 games, has learned his lesson.
“You can only tell over time,” Ruff said. “I’ve had meetings. The message wasn’t received the previous meetings. I thought after the St. Louis game it’s been cleaned up for a period of time, but to take that penalty last night again, it’s a selfish penalty and a total lack of discipline.”