The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 12/31/11 at 11:08 AM ET
If Mikko Koivu, Stephen Weiss, Anze Kopitar, Kris Versteeg, Ryan Smyth, Tomas Plekanec, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Shawn Horcoff, and Dustin Brown all can play more than 20 minutes per game, why can’t Thomas Vanek?
The most important guy in a Sabres uniform has more points this season than each of those 10 players. It’s not like a team that has scored 1 regulation goal in 8 of its last 16 games couldn’t use more of him. For the record, Vanek played a part in 5 of those 8 goals.
And with the befitting news that an injury suffered by defenseman Christian Ehrhoff in a 3-1 loss last night to the Washington Capitals will keep him out of the lineup for a number of weeks, an undermanned blueline corps means even more of a premium will be placed on goal scoring in Buffalo.
I don’t care for the excuse that Vanek doesn’t kill penalties. As members of the opposition last night, Alexander Semin, Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich each had more even strength minutes. Marcus Johansson???
Heck, Vanek even played less than teammate Drew Stafford, which makes a whole lot of sense given Stafford’s blistering pace to reach 13 goals this season.
While Buffalo has gone 5-9-2 in their last 16 games, Vanek has managed to tally 14 points. He’s on a 7-game point streak and is on pace for 37 goals and 82 points, which would put him in the NHL’s top ten. Fans and media recognize him as a legitimate superstar in this league. It’s time to start treating him like one. Facing the Capitals and giving him fewer shifts than Troy Brouwer doesn’t qualify.
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About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]