BOSTON — Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff continued to leave the decision of whether to play in tonight’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Bruins up to winger Thomas Vanek, who has been out since the first period of Game 2 with a left leg injury.
Vanek skated with more than a dozen teammates at TD Garden this morning.
“There’s only one person that knows how he feels, and that’s Thomas,” said Ruff while Vanek skated. “It’s the type of injury … the doctor can’t rub it, he can’t stretch it, the player has to say ‘I feel good on the ice. I can go all out. I can sprint, I can stop.’ There’s only one person … Thomas is the only one that can tell me that ‘I’m healthy, I can play.’”
Vanek can tell Ruff, but he decided not to tell the media today, as he was unavailable for comment after his skate.
“The only decision I can make is whether his conditioning will be enough to get him through a game. I think it will be,” Ruff added.
There was speculation Vanek might be used just as a power-play specialist or in some limited role. Ruff revealed that wouldn’t be the case.
“I said to him that’s he got to go all in,” said Ruff. “It’s all in right off the bat. That doesn’t mean he can make it through the game or not make it through the game, I don’t know. But you can’t ease into this game. This isn’t a game you can ease into. It’s all out right from the start.”
Derek Roy, who was centering Vanek and Tim Kennedy before Vanek’s injury, is looking forward to having his right winger back if he can go.
“It’s huge. He’s obviously a talented goal-scorer and he does thing that people don’t see. He plays good defensively also, and we need him just to obviously scare the other team a little bit. And power play, he’s great on the power play.”