BOSTON — -
BOSTON - The Buffalo Sabres aren’t going to go away quietly in this series and that includes their injured players.
To the surprise of everyone, inside and outside their dressing room, right winger Thomas Vanek skated at Wednesday morning’s optional at TD Garden and did well enough that he and coach Lindy Ruff were going to make “a game-time decision” on Buffalo’s top scorer playing in Game 4 later in the evening. Vanek was limping on his left ankle afterwards, but wasn’t moving with too much difficulty when he skated.
“A good sign,” Vanek said of his workout, which he proudly added included him scoring the winning goal in a scrimmage game. “I’m just happy to be out there and we’ll go from there.
“You want to help your team, but you just don’t want to be out there and disappoint them. If not tonight, I’ll take another step forward tomorrow and hopefully be back Friday (Game 5 in Buffalo).”
The Sabres trail 2-1 in the series. With forward Matt Ellis definitely out for Game 4 with a suspected concussion, the Sabres added 6-foot-3 winger Cody McCormick, the first of the call-ups they can now make with ease with their Portland farm team eliminated from AHL playoffs on Tuesday.
“Without Vanek and Jochen Hecht, without bigger bodies some of the (physical) battles have been going the other way,” Ruff noted. “Cody has played 16 to 20 minutes a game down there and is a big body that can go to the front of the net.”
McCormick also played 190 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche.
“This was a nice surprise,” McCormick said. “I wanted to experience what (other call-ups such as) Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis had.”
Ironically, McCormick played in tyhe Avs’ system as the same time as Johnny Boychuk, the Boston defencemen whose two hits took both Vanek and Ellis out of the series.
For Boston, the concussed Marc Savard cleared a neuro-psyche test and was green-lighted to continue increasing his conditioning. A return date remains far off, however.
“Head-wise, everything’s clear,” Savard told the Boston Herald.