I wanted to talk about Thomas Vanek in depth before tonight’s game, but it’s not going to happen. In short: I think what happened on Saturday is an obvious example of not only how good Vanek is, but why people get so frustrated with him.
Vanek had a decent game until overtime, but what he did on the game winner really came out of nowhere. There have been a number of Sabres players that get the crowd excited when they get going, but Thomas Vanek has never been one of them. When he curled in the neutral zone I don’t think anyone in HSBC Arena really thought he was going to do that.
But he did, and that really sums up Thomas Vanek as a whole. He is a spectacular player that no one really expects much from. Sure, we want him to be great. But most fans think about his contract when they complain about Vanek. People want to get their money’s worth with Vanek, whatever the hell that means.
The problem is, Vanek isn’t always a spectacular player. He has bad stretches and grinds goals out in front. He gets frustrated and often seems to try too hard. His talent almost hides itself: The things he is good at is often hard to spot and the shots don’t always fall.
Today Thomas Vanek had twins. That has nothing to do with what happened on Saturday night and it won’t have anything to do with tonight’s game. However, I find the milestone kind of amazing. It’s been a long, long time since he wore maroon and gold in Buffalo. He’s a two-time 40 goal scorer that isn’t on pace to make it three.
Vanek has changed a lot in his five-plus seasons with the Sabres, but seeing goals like that makes me wonder what’s next for the father of three. It’s still there, he can still be “worth it” and much like the team itself, the potential is still there to have a good season.
What happens next, I guess, is something we find out tonight.