How important is it that Thomas Vanek hit the net?
The importance of a win on Saturday night is obvious. With a truly dreadful start to the 2010 season, the Sabres needed to win a road game on short rest and they did just that.
Judging the value of that win in the numerical sense is easy, what is more complicated is what it really means. The Sabres caught a few fortunate bounces in that a Hall of Fame goaltender started the game on the bench and an overpaid winger watched from the press box.
For the first time this season, the Sabres felt like the more organized team on the ice. There was no sense of panic for the Sabres, no looming thoughts about the trap sucking the team under, and no sense of worry about the sub-par play of certain players. For once, the Devils were the team in a panic, and this time Buffalo took advantage of it.
If the Sabres stumbled into a winning situation on Saturday night then fine, but the best thing that came out of that game is Thomas Vanek. If there is one thing we know about Vanek it is that he is capable of going on impressive scoring streaks, and Saturday night may be the start of one such streak.
We call him Atlas around these parts for a reason, and two goals and seven shots is usually the beginning of our logic. When Vanek is shooting and the puck goes in, look out.
Despite the lack of scoring early in the season, I thought at times he was the Sabres’ best player in many of the losses. That may not be saying much, but it is an extremely positive sign for a team that is absolutely struggling. The defense is a mess, leadership is an issue and one win doesn’t get this team out of the woods; but a team that has Atlas looming may have what it takes to start walking towards daylight.
The Sabres have seven points in nine games. It’s early. These players aren’t going anywhere, Lindy Ruff isn’t going anywhere and Tyler Myers isn’t going to snap back into place like a Lego brick. The Sabres need change, and a force powerful enough to carry it for a few games while the team gets its collective shit together.
Ryan Miller is one thing, but a Greek god may be just what the doctor ordered.