Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 05/15/14 at 12:43 AM ET
So everybody and their brother's uncle's cousin's monkey's hedge-trimmer assumes that the Minnesota Wild are going to sign Thomas Vanek as an unrestricted freeagent, and as we've already gotten several, "Craig Leipold and the Wild Will Not Be Over-spent" spiels regarding Vanek and Suter-and-Parise before them (which are, of course, TOTALLY NOT COLLUSION), here's Eddie Olczyk talking to the Pioneer Press's Charley Walters about Vanek's pluses and minuses:
"I love Thomas Vanek," Ed Olczyk said. "It's hard to find difference makers. He's certainly one of those guys, especially on the power play. There aren't many guys better in the league on the power play than Thomas Vanek."
Olczyk, who played 16 NHL seasons as a center, was an NBCSN-TV analyst for the Wild-Blackhawks playoff series.
"The interesting thing (regarding Vanek) is that the Eastern Conference is a different animal than the West, with the up and down, the skating. The East is a quicker conference, much quicker," Olczyk said. "That would be the only thing (of concern) with me with Vanek. But he's a proven 30-goal scorer. How many 30-goal scorers are there in the NHL? Not a lot. But especially on the power-play -- he's so good in front of the net, has a willingness to go to the front of the net. You need a goal on the power play, the puck finds him."
The Wild have been deficient on the power play.
"Vanek's not going to create a lot of opportunities himself," Olczyk said. "But if you get somebody to get him the puck in front of the net, it's lights out. He's almost like the guy in the orchestra -- all of a sudden the guy with the cymbals bangs his hands together and you go, 'Oh, wow, there's a guy here playing the cymbals.' Well, that's Thomas Vanek.
"All of a sudden he's got two goals. One is on a power play and he finds a back door off the side of the net. He's that way; that's always been him. I would certainly want him on my team when it comes to being a difference maker and a power-play specialist, for sure."
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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