Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July-lights: July 6th, Vanek Sends Carlson And Holtby Fishing

The Buffalo Sabres made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since losing to the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Finals of the '06-'07 season, last season. After losing key players at the conclusion of that season many wondered who would lead the Sabres both on and off the ice. We can say Thomas Vanek has at least picked up some of the slack on the ice.

After being drafted 5th overall by the Sabres in the '03 Entry Draft, the Austrian native came into the league during the '05-'06 season posting 25 goals and assisting 23 times grabbing 48 points in his rookie season. Since coming into the league Vanek has been with the Sabres for six seasons, playing in 469 games, scoring 204 goals, and assisting on 182  goals, amounting to 386 points.

Over the course of his career Vanek has scored 34 game winning goals, five came last season. One of which was against the Washington Capitals in overtime (see below), where he has proved why he has been such an offensive key for the Sabres.

Washington Capitals' defenseman, John Carlson, may have a hard time fishing his jock strap out of the rafters after that dangle. After picking up the puck in the neutral zone, Vanek broke into the Capitals zone crossing over Carlson  and dekeing around a helpless Braden Holtby, who completely missed his pokecheck. Then tucking the puck into the back of the net, and celebrating the win with his team.

Nothing can describe the goal better than long time Sabres' announcer, Rick Jeanneret's account of the goal, "Vanek just turned everyone upside down, inside out, and BINGO!". Sabres' fans will be lucky enough to watch Vanek for a while longer being he is signed through the '13-'14 season.