Best wishes to RJ

Thomas Vanek has missed three games this season. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Vanek questionable for Leafs; Sekera likely out

Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres winger Thomas Vanek, who took a lethal Christian Ehrhoff point shot off the hip early in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win in Montreal, missed practice Wednesday and is questionable for tonight’s tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“He’s a little bit better but still going to be day-to-day, what he can tolerate,” interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said Wednesday inside the First Niagara Center. “He’s certainly a possibility.”

Meanwhile, defenseman Andrej Sekera practiced Wednesday but will likely miss his third straight game.

What happened to Sekera on Saturday?

“Got tangled up and something snapped in my body,” Sekera said. “Something didn’t feel very right.”

Ouch!

Vanek always seems to be beaten up, partly because he constantly goes to net, especially on the power play. Injuries have already shelved him three games this year.

Ehrhoff’s shot ranks among the NHL’s hardest.

“We were trying to keep things simpler on the power play and get shots through, and he happens to block one of the ones that gets through that’s got some heat on it from the point,” Rolston said. “But he wants to be around that area, and usually when you’re around that area you got some lumps.”

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After Rochester’s 6-1 loss Saturday in Toronto, interim Americans coach Chadd Cassidy called Mark Pysyk into his office and told the defenseman, “You’re playing tomorrow night against the Washington Capitals.”

The team bus dropped Pysyk off in Buffalo on the way home. The 21-year-old then flew to Baltimore on Sunday morning before taking a cab to Washington.

Through two games, the Sabres’ 2010 first-round pick has played well, averaging 15:06 on the ice.

So far, Pysyk’s first taste of the NHL has been surreal.

“I just sort of took a step back and look, just think where you are at the time and realize you’re achieving one of your goals and you’re on your way,” Pysyk said. “I just want to do everything I can to stay up here.”

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Sabres winger Steve Ott on Rolston, who took over for Lindy Ruff a month ago Wednesday: “I really like his structure. His details of coaching are exceptionally well. He’s very mindful in the way that he kind of explains everything. Every single day our video sessions are very crisp and sharp. Those teaching aspects of Ron’s qualities I think are very, very high.

“As he adjusts to being an NHL coach, I’m sure he’s continuing to get better just like we are.”

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According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Amerks and the Rochester Institute of Technology’s men’s and women’s hockey teams will each play an outdoor game at Rochester’s Frontier Field, home of the AAA Red Wings, next season.

Related: Sabres’ Vanek out; Flynn set to make NHL debut

Sabres recall Pysyk from Amerks to replace Sekera

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