Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: thomas vanek
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada with a look at Thomas Vanek and the adjustments his linemates have made to play with him.
The NHL is apparently seeking officials...
Dreger: They're calling it the NHL Exposure Combine and the belief is that they're hoping to bring in upwards of 60 high-level prospects. They're going to collect these, literally, from around the world, but yes, they will send invites to certain universities and NCAA colleges for those graduating hockey players who perhaps want to pursue a career as an NHL on-ice official.
They'll hold the combine in August in Buffalo. There will be considerable physical testing but it's all part of trying to expand the search and every other year, they'll do an amateur version.
McKenzie: I smell a reality show coming: “So You Wanna Be a Ref?”
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson leads us up to the trade deadline wondering whether the trade deadline will in fact play out as witnessing Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim attempt to strike back at the St. Louis Blues' preemptive roster-strenghtening strike in bringing Ryan Miller and Steve Ott into the fold:
Do the Kings have to get New York Islanders’ unrestricted free agent winger Thomas Vanek now, even if the whole world knows Vanek is going to sign in Minnesota, where he has a summer home? Or should they go for Matt Moulson, who played 29 games with L.A. after general manager Dean Lombardi signed him as a free agent out of Cornell University in 2006?
Do the Ducks, who have two first-round picks and two seconds this June and need a right-handed shooting defenceman, take a big swing at six-foot-eight Tyler Myers in Buffalo, even though his salary-cap hit is $5.5 million? They could offer somebody like forward Kyle Palmeiri, but would probably keep winger Emerson Etem and goalie Viktor Fasth.
Are the Sharks deep enough with the return of third-line winger Raffi Torres following knee surgery, No. 2 centre Logan Couture (hand operation), and rookie sensation winger Tomas Hertl (knee) skating again?
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anaheim+ducks, andrew+macdonald, buffalo+sabres, chris+phillips, christian+ehrhoff, dean+lombardi, kyle+palmieri, los+angeles+kings, matt+moulson, new+york+islanders, ryan+callahan, san+jose+sharks, thomas+vanek, tomas+hertl, tyler+myers
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch offers a smorgasbord of rumor news in his last pre-trade-deadline Sunday missive, but the best way to summarize his statements involves encapsulating the following and letting you read on from there:
TOP 5 SELLERS
- BUFFALO SABRES - GM Tim Murray made a huge move Friday by dealing goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues. He isn’t finished yet, he still has Matt Moulson and anyone else up for grabs.
- EDMONTON OILERS - Craig MacTavish has been trying to make moves all year and he’s made a couple of deals. He’d like to move forward Ales Hemsky and will retain salary. A lot of teams will try to make a bigger deal for winger Jordan Eberle.
- N.Y. ISLANDERS - Losing captain John Tavares to injury gives GM Garth Snow the green light to move left wing Thomas Vanek and defenceman Andy MacDonald. Vanek might be the most sought-after player and MacDonald won’t be far behind.
- NASHVILLE PREDATORS - This might be a bit of a surprise but they are a longshot to make the playoffs. A lot of teams have called about centre David Legwand. He may not be the only one to go. Wouldn’t be surprised to see many gone.
- CALGARY FLAMES - Interim GM Brian Burke hasn’t made any bold moves since he took over but you can expect him to be busy. The club would like to keep UFA Mike Cammalleri but it’s doubtful he’ll stay. There are options for buyers.
Garrioch goes from there, listing his top 5 buyers, discussing Markov to Edmonton(?), the Stars' situation, news from Long Island, New York City, San Jose, Calgary, etc...
And this is just me, but if Garth Snow wants a top prospect, a 1st rounder and a 2nd rounder for Thomas Vanek, I may have considered that before Vanek confirmed that he wanted to test the maret...But now that he embarrassed himself and the Austrian Olympic team by going out and getting blotto with some teammates prior to battling Slovenia, I wouldn't touch him with a ten-foot pole.
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: ales+hemsky, andrew+macdonald, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, craig+mactavish, david+legwand, edmonton+oilers, garth+snow, matt+moulson, mike+cammalleri, nashville+predators, new+york+islanders, thomas+vanek
from Brett Crygolis of the New York Post,
Thomas Vanek certainly enjoyed his time in Sochi, just as he is enjoying his time with the Islanders — and both situations will be short-lived.
It’s inevitable that by the March 5 trade deadline, general manager Garth Snow will trade Vanek, now even more so in the wake of star center John Tavares’ injury, sustained while playing for Team Canada en route to its gold medal. The Islanders are 12 points out of a playoff position with six teams to leapfrog as the final 22-game stretch begins on Thursday with the Maple Leafs at the Coliseum.
The big story now is what can Snow get in return for the 30-year-old sniper. Looking for at least a first-round pick, in addition to a second-rounder or a high-level prospect, the asking price is similar to what Snow sent the Sabres for Vanek on Oct. 28, minus the inclusion of pending free agent, Matt Moulson. Vanek has already turned down a seven-year, $50 million offer Snow put on the table, as he is determined to reach free agency on July 1.
“It’s part of the business,” Vanek said. “I’ve been through it once now, and whatever happens, happens. I’m happy to be back here today to see the guys and practice and get ready for Thursday.”
more including Vanek on the late night incident in Sochi...
I follow some very surprising hockey people on Twitter, and one of them is Gunnar Svensson. Svensson happens to represent Nicklas Backstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Magnus Paajarvi, Frans Nielsen and Anton Stralman (among others) as an NHLPA-certified agent, and he Tweets some intriguing stories, including one from Eurohockey.com's Dennis Mende that you'd think would belong in the 90's, not 2014.
According to Mende, the Austrian Olympic hockey team delivered a stinker of a performance in their stunning 4-0 loss to Slovenia for a simple reason: Thomas Vanek, Michel Grabner, Michal Raffl and the rest of a big, tough and heavy Austrian team went out drinking the night before they lost to Slovenia (update: via Aftonbladet, the Austrian reports are worse, suggesting that the players were all but literally punch-drunk):
There were discussions after Austria's weak and often helpless performance against Slovenia in the quarterfinal qualification of the men's ice hockey tournament at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi on Tuesday. The answer might be an easy but shocking one. After a 3-1 win against Norway to end group B on the 3rd spot on Sunday a group of players celebrated way too heavy. Until up to 6 am the players hung out drinking In the Austria House and a local club in Krasnaya Polyana.
"If you have told me before the game we'd score four goals against Finland, I'd think we would have had a chance .But to let in eight? Our goalie needs to be the best player, and we need to help him out better.
"If guys didn't know what to expect out of this tournament, I think they got a good reality check today."
-Thomas Vanek of Team Austria after losing 8-4 to Team Finland. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
It appears that Thomas Vanek's stay with the Islanders likely will not last beyond the March 5 trade deadline.
NHL sources told Newsday that Vanek, acquired from the Sabres on Oct. 27, turned down a substantial contract offer from the Isles and that general manager Garth Snow is fielding offers for the 30-year-old wing.
The offer is believed to be in the same range as Vanek's current seven-year, $50 million deal. That contract expires on June 30.
Steve Bartlett, Vanek's agent, told Newsday on Monday morning that he and Snow have not talked in the past several days. Bartlett said Vanek has not closed the door on the Islanders but added that his client "has no real deadline" to let the team know he intends to go to unrestricted free agency on July 1.
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
Thomas Vanek is nearing a decision, according to his agent. Which means the Islanders are nearing a decision on whether Vanek, their big early-season acquisition, will be on the move again before the March 5 trade deadline.
"I don't think any final decision has been made yet," Steve Bartlett, Vanek's agent, told Newsday on Wednesday. "We continue to have what I consider very good and constructive conversations with the Islanders. But we're not there yet."
Garth Snow is believed to be gauging the trade market for Vanek, according to a league source, given that there are only eight days until the Olympic roster freeze, which runs from Feb. 7-23, and then only 10 days until the trade deadline.
Over the last 36-or-so hours, hockey pundits have dedicated a significant amount of bandwidth to dissecting the Thomas Vanek-Matt Moulson trade, attempting to discern whether either player has a long-term future with their new respective employers, or whether the New York Islanders or Buffalo Sabres "won" the trade.
In an "Ask Matty" column, I believe that the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson offers the most honest--and blunt--assessment of the trade:
Q: What do you think about Buffalo trading Thomas Vanek now and not waiting until the trade deadline? (Jeff Lore)
A: Embattled Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier did nicely to get first- and second-round draft picks and Matt Moulson for essentially a rental player, and he can use Moulson at the trade deadline to maybe get another first-rounder because he, too, is an unrestricted free-agent. Moulson, who had John Tavares passing him the puck on Long Island, will find it a tad more difficult to score goals in Buffalo with nobody nearly as good as Tavares in the Sabres lineup. Vanek is a better sniper, but Moulson is a solid NHL winger who can fill the hole for now. It’s not a deep amateur draft, but if Buffalo can move Moulson, they could still have three first-rounders in June. Question I have: didn’t the Islanders need UFA goalie Ryan Miller from Buffalo more than Vanek? Evgeni Nabokov is a middling tender, at best.
Matheson continues while answering Oilers-related comments, and I just don't know whether Garth Snow can convince Vanek to remain an Islander long-term. As ESPN New York's Katie Strang suggested, Snow made a "gamble" in removing Islanders captian John Tavares' closest on-ice pal from the equation:
added 8:36pm, Sabres press release is below...
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Vanek, a rugged 6-foot-2, 207-pounder who is one of Buffalo's cornerstones, could bring the Sabres several prospects (Scott Laughton? Nick Cousins? Oliver Lauridsen?) and/or draft picks.
He would feel right at home with the Flyers because he was winger Michael Raffl's linemate with Austria at the 2013 IIHF World Championships.
"I've never seen anybody play like he does in front of the net," Raffl said after the Flyers practice Wednesday in Voorhees. "He's unbelievable."...
Yes, it would be risky to acquire Vanek - whose $7.1 million cap hit would cause the Flyers to make some auxiliary moves, like including Andrej Meszaros in the deal, to free cap space - because he could sign elsewhere after the season. The Flyers need to take that risk. Roll the dice and make re-signing him a priority. The cap is going up after the season, and the Flyers will have Kimmo Timonen ($6 million) and Meszaros ($4 million) coming off the books.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
Even though the snow had not yet hit Buffalo, there was plenty of 'digging' going on in front of Montreal goalkeeper Peter Budaj. A plow in the form of Steve Ott cleared Budaj off the frozen puck which allowed Thomas Vanek to push it across the line and force overtime.
Prior to video review concluding that the puck had 'crossed the goal line in legal fashion,' I was in communication with That's Hockey2Nite producer Jason Palter advising him as to why the whistle should have blown to stop play on two counts prior to Vanek pushing the puck across the goal line.
Five minutes after Buffalo defeated the Canadiens in a shootout I was on the air via Skype with super talented host Steve Kouleas providing my take on the goal that never should have been allowed.
As I share my findings with you in this edition of C'Mon Ref, we see yet another example of undetected contact with the goalkeeper which impacted the game.
more and watch the goal below...
Thomas Vanek of the Sabres had 3 goals and 2 helpers tonight, his second five point night of the season. On opening night, he had 2g and 3a.
Here are his goals tonight...
Thomas Vanek picks up the pick and beats Brent Johnson after it takes a strange bounce off the glass.
As a public service to numbers geeks and the attention span impaired, we now bring you a quick analysis of the Buffalo Sabres’ current 10-4-1 streak which has allowed them to close to within five points of a playoff spot:
Buffalo’s stellar record as of late can really be attributed to their power play (13-46, 28.2%) and their ability to win the close ones (5-1-1 in one-goal games). More numbers:
Leading scorers: Thomas Vanek (6-13-19), Jason Pominville (6-9-15), Drew Stafford (7-5-12), Tyler Ennis (3-7-10), Jochen Hecht (5-4-9).
Goaltending: Ryan Miller - started all 15 games, 2.71 GAA, .919 save percentage.
Special teams: Power play - 13-46 (28.2%); Penalty killing - 47-55 (85.5%).
Goal differential: In regulation - 47 goals for, 42 against; 5 on 5 - 36 goals for, 30 against.
Location, location, location: 4-2-0 at home, 6-2-1 away.
Against quality opposition: 6-2-0 vs. teams currently in playoff position.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: buffalo+sabres, drew+stafford, jason+pominville, jochen+hecht, ryan+miller, sabres+stats, sabres+streak, thomas+vanek, tyler+ennis, tyler+myers
The Buffalo Sabres’ lack of sympathy for the misfortunes of the free falling Ottawa Senators should be in full display tonight at Scotiabank Place.
The streaking Sabres need every point they can get, and if that means figuratively kicking their already wounded division rival in the stomach on their way out the door towards the All-Star break, then so be it.
In their last 12 games, the Sabres are 8-3-1 while the Sens are 1-8-3. Ottawa will start Brian Elliott, who is winless in his last 10 starts, in goal tonight.
Still, it’s not like the Sabres don’t have issues of their own. They need to win this one just to get within four points of eighth place. The defense is still shaky. To be honest, not a whole lot of fans and media here are taking the streak too seriously.
Sometimes it’s as simple as your best players being your best players.
The Sabres earned a big 4-2 win in Boston last night, and regardless of what the 3-stars voters had to say, this game was about Ryan Miller (38 saves) and Thomas Vanek (game-winning goal, assist) coming through when it mattered most.
On the subject of Miller, there have been rumblings in the local media that he should get a game off before the All-Star break. The talk after last night’s game was about whether or not Patrick Lalime or Jhonas Enroth should start the following night against the New York Islanders.
This is the same media that reminds us continuously that the Sabres as an organization don’t display enough desperation. Sitting a healthy Miller tonight, when the alternatives are a guy who hasn’t won a single game since Easter and a rookie struggling to be a .500 goalie in the AHL, wouldn’t exactly exemplify a sense of urgency.
With all of the media and fan obsession in this town over where the Buffalo Bills will be slotted in the NFL draft order this spring, Sabres fans might be interested to know that their hockey team is currently in line for a top 5 overall pick in 2011. The last time Buffalo was in such a position, they drafted a guy named Thomas Vanek.
With leading scorer Derek Roy likely done for the season, and with the gap from here to eighth place in the East ever so painfully widening, it might be time to start habitually looking down on the standings page instead of up.
News of the severity of Roy’s injury certainly felt like a skate boot to the stomach. And in timely fashion, disillusioned armchair GM’s are now calling for Darcy Regier to make a trade to bring in a top line center to replace him. You know, something similar to all of the other trades for top line centers that have been made around the league recently.
Vanek with a great move to win it in ooooovertime.
Not the best video, but it just the night is early.
Note 10:14pm, Replaced original video with one of better quality.
Rewind to three weeks ago: The 2010-11 season is about to commence, and your friends over at Psychic Freaks Network get a few premonitions right for a change. The crystal ball shows the Sabres completing their first 10-game segment with a winning road record, Derek Roy on pace for a 90-point season, and Tyler Ennis delivering pretty much as advertised and battling for the lead in rookie points.
If you’re a Sabres fan you’d be guessing first place on Halloween and hearing pundit predictions of a 40th franchise anniversary party with a happy ending, right? After further review, you might want to throw that crystal ball in the trash along with the Brett Hull trading card your prankster friend got you for your birthday.
Given all of the above, plus the fact that Thomas Vanek, Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford are each on pace to exceed their respective goal totals from last season, how does this team find itself wallowing near the bottom of the pack at 3-6-1?
It’s a mystery why the three strongest performances by Buffalo thus far have been their three road contests, where they’ve averaged over 40 shots per game, but at this stage the Sabres will take points anywhere they can get them - even if nobody is there to see it.
It was an impressive 4-1 win last night in Atlanta in front of a few family and friends at a sparsely populated Philips Arena, and the script for getting some key players going couldn’t have been written much better.
Tyler Myers netted his first goal of 2010-11, and despite an ugly first period turnover he looked much better overall. There’s just too much ability there for the turnaround not to continue. Keep in mind that even when Myers was playing at his best last season he was prone to occasionally coughing up the puck. You must have some talent if you can win a Calder Trophy after leading the NHL in giveaways.
With the excitement of the 40th anniversary ceremonies only to be followed by the Sabres losing a 2-1 snooze-fest to the Montreal Canadiens, you can see why many folks in Buffalo took the liberty of comparing last night’s game to the 3-0 loss to the Habs on 10/15/70.
But there’s a much more recent anniversary that you could say is more suitable for comparison.
It was six months ago this weekend that the Sabres were in the midst of a futile week-and-a-half-long attempt to scrape together some offense in a first round playoff series against the Boston Bruins - a team that for various reasons was supposed to have major goal scoring problems of their own.
There are some striking similarities between Buffalo’s poor playoff performance and the events of last night’s game - and for that matter of this young season. It’s a scary reminder that nothing in the past six months with this team seems to have really changed.
Some Sabres musings compiled while looking at 29 different angles of the big hit last night, and wondering what they really put in those shoulder pads…
• With an extended absence from Jason Pominville likely, courtesy of Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, the opportunity is there for Nathan Gerbe to cement his place in the starting lineup. But with the way Portland Pirates (AHL) forward Luke Adam is playing, it might need to happen sooner for Gerbe rather than later. There is already talk of Portland commandeering an AHL Rookie of the Year three-peat. Gerbe and Tyler Ennis have won the award the past two seasons.
via John Vogl of Sabres Edge,
Thomas Vanek will be in the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres tonight.
“All indications point to him playing,” coach Lindy Ruff said before the Sabres took the ice for the 11:30 morning skate.
“The only decision I can make is whether I think his conditioning will be enough to get him through a game,” Ruff said. “I think it will be. He indicated yesterday that he felt he was ready to play.”
from Mike Harrington of Sabres Edge,
Thomas Vanek and Lindy Ruff reached the same conclusion Sunday after the Sabres’ optional workout: Vanek will likely play again in this series against the Boston Bruins although it’s highly doubtful the star winger plays in Game Three Monday night in Boston, as he was walking with a pronounced limp in his left foot.
But testing showed Vanek has no broken bones and no major damage. The Sabres are classifying it as a lower-body injury, but you and I can likely call it a severe ankle sprain. Vanek did travel with the team to Boston.
“I’m sore obviously from what happened there,” Vanek said of his crash into the boards after getting slashed fby Boston’s Johnny Boychuk. “Overall, it could be worse. It sucks but it’s better than it could be. Nothing is broken.”
Word is he will not return to the game today after taking this slash from Johnny Boychuk.
added 2:35pm, Looking at the video again, he may have also hurt his left leg/ankle when sliding into the boards. Sabres are just saying lower-body injury.
from Erin Pollina of BuffaloSabres.com,
Lindy Ruff delivered some good news regarding Thomas Vanek on Wednesday afternoon.
The Buffalo Sabres Head Coach said the winger may only miss a few days - not weeks - after sustaining an upper body injury in Tuesday’s 6-2 win against the Red Wings….
“They thought he would feel a lot worse today, but he’s actually feeling a lot better,” Ruff said following practice on Wednesday. “He’s doing remarkably well which is good.. I wouldn’t even rule him out maybe for a game on the weekend, as well as he’s doing today.
“It’s a stretch but it’s something I won’t rule out now.”
more on the Sabres…
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Thomas Vanek left for good with 7:14 to play in the second period after scoring his second goal in the 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Coach Lindy Ruff revealed Vanek will miss several weeks with an undisclosed upper body injury.
Vanek slid hard into the end boards after scoring the goal on Derek Roy’s third assist in a 4½-minute span, but Ruff said the injury actually occurred before that play. Television shots of Vanek on the bench before the shift showed Vanek grimacing while moving his neck/shoulder area.
Vanek’s shoulder was not in a sling when he left the locker room about 40 minutes after the game was over, and he was believed to have undergone X-rays on his ribs.
“It was before the goal, when I collided with [former Sabre Brad] May,” Vanek told The Buffalo News. “I went to hit him, and it happened there. I just finished the shift and felt it after. I knew right away and just tried to tough it out. After the shift, I just got it checked out.”
Tomas Vokoun of the Panthers with a great glove save on Thomas Vanek of the Sabres. Buffalo did defeat Florida 3-1.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Vanek, who has missed the last nine games with a broken jaw suffered Feb. 7 in Ottawa, skated fully in contact drills Monday and proclaimed himself ready to take the ice against the Habs.
“That’s the plan for right now,” Vanek said. “It’s always tough to watch the team, especially when they’re not winning. That makes it even tougher. If you’re watching the game and you’re out injured or a healthy scratch, you hate watching your team struggle and lose. It’s nice to get back and hopefully help out.”...
Ruff said winger Maxim Afinogenov is “definitely a possibility” to make the lineup Wednesday as well if he’s not traded. Afinogenov, who was battling groin and hip injuries, has been healthy for two weeks and reiterated for reporters Monday what he told The News Saturday on Long Island—he wants back on the ice or he wants out of Buffalo.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Thomas Vanek is back doing some light exercise but the Buffalo Sabres’ leading scorer says returning in 3-4 weeks from his fractured jaw may be an overly optimistic timetable.
“I hope that I haven’t lost too much of my fitness but we’ll see about that once I start skating again,” Vanek wrote in a diary entry posted on his official Web site for fans in his native Austria. “The doctors said that I would miss at least four weeks altogether but it also could be five to six weeks. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
BUFFALO, NY (February 8, 2009)—- Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier today announced that Thomas Vanek fractured his jaw when he was hit in the face with a puck during last night’s game vs. Ottawa. Vanek had successful surgery on his jaw today in Buffalo, and will be sidelined for at least 3-4 weeks.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We can’t help but harp back to the Edmonton angle. Not only would the Oilers not have Penner on their hands right now if the Sabres had not matched, but they would have an elite forward to play with star winger Ales Hemsky, something the local Edmonton media has pointed out as a major issue with right now.
For as much heat as former Oilers GM/now team president Kevin Lowe got around the league in the summer of 2007, give him credit on this point—he was right about Vanek being worth the money.
more and some Pogge talk too…
The First Star of the Week, Thomas Vanek took part in a tele-conference today….
Q. When you’re a goal scorer, is there a lot more weight put on you than if you’re a point producer? Is there a lot more pressure on guys who are known as goal scorers?
THOMAS VANEK: Sure, I mean, just like you said, I mean, it’s a good label and a bad label at the same time. I think if you’re known as a goal scorer, you want to be the one putting up the goals. Guys who are just known as point guys sometimes get away with I think a lot of maybe second assists or so.
But at the same time I think it is a team sport. Like myself, I’m not too worried about goals and points. Always at the end of the year you look back and you obviously want to be up there in the top 20 or top 15 in goal scoring.
from Matt Higgins at Slap Shot of the NYT,
Asked if he is faster this year, Vanek laughed. “I feel the same as the year before,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with confidence. Right now I feel good about myself. I’m getting my ice time. Any time you’re getting the ice time, gaining the coach’s trust, you feel better.
“Maybe the years before you had a couple bad shifts and all of a sudden you’re not playing anymore,” he said.
“You start thinking about things too much. Instead of doing the obvious thing and jumping into holes and going after loose pucks, you sit back and make sure you don’t do anything wrong.”
From Brian Duff at The Hockey News,
At 23-and-a-half, he had the world by the tail. Six months later, his family’s finances secure for generations to come, the world of hockey is spinning him by the tail, in a tale of too much too soon for a player who has yet to complete his third NHL season.
On Jan. 19, Thomas Vanek will turn 24. And try as he might to live up to the pressure of a seven-year pact worth $50 million, nothing on the ice is going his way.
You know, it’s funny. When Vanek signed his long-term deal, a lifelong supporter of the team suggested to me “a contract like this could kill his career.” Sadly, her foreshadowing has been accurate so far.
From Mike Harrington at The Buffalo News,
“At times I wasn’t playing well and the other two guys were playing good,” Vanek said after practice Monday in the Amherst Pepsi Center. “Then maybe I had a few better games. Right now, we’re just finally playing all three on the same page, playing well at the same time and that makes a difference.”
Roy, in fact, is tied with Calgary’s Daymond Langkow for the best December plus-minus in the league at plus-10 and Vanek isn’t far behind at plus-7. Roy has 11 points in eight games this month, just three off the league lead.
“As a line, we’re getting to know each other and where we’ve got to be,” Roy said. “Team-wise, we’ve clamped down on things, we’re collapsing in the defensive zone, guys are blocking shots and Ryan [goaltender Ryan Miller] is making some great saves.”
from the Buffalo News,
No one in the NHL is getting a bigger paycheck this season than Vanek. His $10 million salary ties him with Philadelphia’s Daniel Briere and the New York Rangers’ Scott Gomez. Yet of the 10 highest-paid forwards, Vanek lags way behind in time on ice.
Gomez (19:58) and Briere (19:13) are much busier. Tampa Bay’s Brad Richards, fifth on the pay scale, leads forwards at 24:56 per game — eight minutes more than Vanek. The only player in the top 10 of pay who’s relatively close to Vanek is New Jersey’s Patrik Elias, and he still gets 1:14 more per game at 18:02.
Vanek’s total ice time of 386:27 is tied for 139th among NHL forwards.
from the Buffalo News,
With the Sabres’ record at 6-7-1, it’s clearly become bothersome for Vanek. His coach has noticed, his teammates have noticed and so has anyone who’s been watching.
“Sometimes, his emotions are right out there for everyone to see how frustrated he is,” Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller said. “It’s going to be part of his maturing process. You can’t let the other team see that. There’s little talks with him, but I think that’s part of his personality. I’m kind of OK with him doing it. I think he plays his best hockey when he’s holding himself accountable. It’s just you don’t want to get to the point where you’re beating yourself up.”
from Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
“I need Thomas to play like he’s a $900,000 player because it seemed to do pretty good last year,” Ruff said with a laugh after this morning’s practice in HSBC Arena. “That’s my analogy. Just because you’re making more money doesn’t mean you have to change as a player. My expectations of him don’t change.”...
“If he can be consistent with last year, that would be a darn good year for Thomas,” Ruff said. “Is it realistic to think he can go from 25 [goals] to 44 to 70-something? I don’t think so. But if we can keep him in that consistent area and have him be that 40- to 50-goal scorer, that would be pretty good.”