Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Vanek Provides Insight Into Former Buffalo Sabres Management


Thomas Vanek returned to Buffalo with the Montreal Canadiens last week for the first time since being dealt to the New York Islanders. While Vanek had a lot of good things to say about the city and the club, he did open the door into what was happening with the Buffalo Sabres management.

As fans and writers/bloggers, we get shutout from what happens internally in a hockey team, which is why when a player such as Thomas Vanek speaks, we listen.

“Looking back at it and even talking to some of the guys who are not here anymore, it’s unfortunate.” ~ Thomas Vanek (Quotes from John Vogl)

That was Vanek’s response when reminiscing about the old Buffalo Sabres core and the potential the squad had to

accomplish big things. Vanek talked about how a team with so much potential and skill was more often left disappointed having never won a playoff series. While the players didn’t step up, Vanek pointed some of the blame at management.

“We always talked about not getting to the next level, but I thought if you really look back at what happened is that Danny and Chris left at the time, and they told us to step up, which is great. We all wanted that to happen, but we never replaced two good players and in this league you need depth. I think five, six players can only take you so far. I wish we would have went and got two, three, four more good guys. We really could have made some runs.”

The Sabres had a lot of skill with Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville, Ryan Miller, Derek Roy and Brian Campbell, but did they have the leadership and skill to push them to that next level?

While it’s sad to think back to the old Buffalo Sabres core and realize they failed to reach their full potential, Vanek had even more insight into the former Sabres management that is worth reading.

“No one really had an answer. That’s when I kind of made up my mind that July 1 is probably a goal of mine.”

Vanek probed about the future of the Buffalo Sabres and their rebuild when deciding his future and the feeling he got was that “No one really had an answer.” For a professional hockey team to not know the direction they’re going at such a crucial point, is nothing short of embarrassing and makes one wonder why Regier was the GM.

Under the reign of Darcy Regier the Buffalo Sabres were certainly going down the wrong path towards a rebuild that would have gone in circles and lasted years. The Buffalo Sabres were in a position, had they replaced Drury and Briere to be true contenders and Regier let that fall right through his fingers to the point where virtually all of the old core is gone.

While Vanek’s comments didn’t shine the brightest light on the former management of the Buffalo Sabres, it’s important to remember that Darcy Regier is gone and Tim Murray seems to be a man with a plan and the execution to accomplish said plan. Hopefully when Tyler Myers goes and asks Murray about the future of the Sabres in a few season’s he won’t get the same answer Vanek, and I’m sure Ryan Miller received.

What do you make of Thomas Vanek’s comments about his former team?

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Featured Popular Thomas Vanek

  • Ron Cianciosi

    Vanek was part of that core that showed no leadership. Glad the old core is all gone. They were followers, but not leaders

    • Mike Flynn

      Agreed and when management asked them to step it up they didn’t there were good players here but bad attitudes too I think

    • Greg

      Vanek, Pommer, Miller were all leaders with NO Followers

    • Greg Antilla

      I know, right? Who needs him and his 30 goals. We’re chocked full of superstars as is. Good riddance, and here we come playoffs!

  • Ron Cianciosi

    His act grew tiresome a long time ago. After games, during interviews, he was always moping. This is your star? Bye Bye. Vanek !!

    • Greg

      Would you work for someone who told you “I have no clue where this company is headed”? SMH

  • john masich

    Falls on both but regier could traded some draft picks and some prospects and get some high quality scoring. Like Idk maybe James neal, Brad Richards, Marian hossa. I think we could’ve been a favorite for a serious cup contender for maybe 5 years possibly more and might’ve got a home town discount from vanek to keep the core together for a few more years. But we will never know.

    • Greg

      I didn’t know Brad Richards wanted to be here??? Then why did we sign Leino??? Dumb people SMH

  • john masich

    We lost briere, drury, and Campbell. We had no secondary scoring vanek, roy, pominville, was the only scoring line we had no other dominant second line like that. And Campbell was the best d-man we let go. Campbell or Myers on the point? Myers is having a better year.

  • Ryan Grimm

    Vanek is only stating the obvious. It doesn’t take any profound insight to see this team has been mismanaged for years and we are paying for it now. But Vanek is also just as much to blame as anyone he’s trying to point a finger at. For a guy who’s as talented as he is and a natural goal scorer, he never struck me as much of a competitor, and I was glad to bid him ‘good riddance’. I wish him no ill will, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the lackluster display he put on in Buffalo and Long Island continues

  • qwicwted

    To be honest, I was kind of shocked to read his comments – let’s face it, after Drury and Briere left – the core didn’t get it done. Drury and Briere left in 2007 – that’s 7 years ago and the Bflo core had close to 5 years to highten their game. Some did, some didn’t. When Vanek was asked to step up and take ownership and leadership – he didn’t show up. As a leader – Vanek was more into Vanek and he is very immature. Over the years we have come to know exactly how Vanek feels because he wears his emotions on his sleeve or maybe I should say his face and demeanor. He made it very clear that he didn’t like the direction the team was going – Darcy flat out said it was a rebuild and there would be “suffering”. I understand…..its his choice not to resign – so see ya!
    We all know he wants to sign with the Wild – what should be interesting is how well they do this year because they might have found a guy that fills their need at LW and is a leader – Moulson. He also comes cheaper. I find it kind of humorous that the guy Bflo traded Vanek for ended up where Vanek wants to be.

    • Greg Antilla

      Feel better? You’re right though, that Vanek guy sucked. Couldn’t score a goal if his life depended on it. We are so much better off without him. A couple more weeks until the playoffs!

      • qwicwted

        I have Vanek on my fantasy team and while he is a good player, I don’t think he is a leader – hummmmm didn’t the Austrian team party all night with him as the captain? I do feel better that he is on another team. Let’s face it Greg – he didn’t step up when called upon. He was more like a petulant child and after a while it gets old. You know…..we can see Vanek’s maturity with his response as to why he didn’t want to resign – let it go Thomas – why say anything.

        • Greg Antilla

          Every time a player leaves the Sabres, all of a sudden it’s “oh, we are better off without him”. Every time, like clockwork. Doesn’t matter who the player is, doesn’t matter what the stat sheet says, someone always likes the move. This is exactly what I was saying about towing the company line.

  • davidmuscalo

    Vanek is spot on, unfortunately, it looks like current management is the mirror image of previous management – maybe worse. There is no plan here other that to acquire as many draft picks in hope of drafting an entire championship team – yeah, good luck with that! Murray has given away all of out top talent – except for Hodgson and Myers – with no appreciable return! You can build a competitive team from draft picks alone and there isn’t allot of talent in pipeline either – look at where Rochester is in the AHL standings. The team is loaded with “NHL-ready player. If so, why are they playing in the AHL. Oh, now they have to develop. I guess they were not NHL-ready, and there development to this point is inadequate by NHL standards.

    • Greg

      Do you know what rebuild means? Draft picks for highly skilled, young kids that we can keep here for years, even if we win the Cup as they will all be cheap plus we have the most Cap Room in the NHL so nobody could out bid us. DesLauriers is playing solid hockey, read the prospect reports, all the players that will make up here are having great seasons, do you know hockey or are you from WGR 550?

      • davidmuscalo

        Murray drafted, good for Murray. He hasn’t done anything for this team except get rid of the little talent we had. As for Des…….. who.

        At the end of the day I am getting too old to wait for a winner. If the Sabres ever do win the Cup, I will likely not be around to see it. That’s the bottom line for me!

        • Greg

          You referring to “the little talent that we had” that did NOTHING but fail? DesLauriers is young, nhl ready, big body, tenacious on the puck but I guess that’s why Murray is a an amazing scout and you do…..

          • davidmuscalo

            How many points does he have? Talk is cheap, it’s results that matter. We’ll see if Murray is an amazing scout in Buffalo and not just lucky in Ottawa.

          • Greg Antilla

            Don’t waste your time, David. Some people truly believe all these oh-so-amazing prospects (Tropp, Kassian, Butler, Gerbe, McNabb, etc) and random # overall draft picks (Grigorenko) will bud into superstars and become a Stanley Cup championship team. Let them blindly tow the company line all they want… “hope and BILLieve” is the phrase, correct? Yeah, how’s that working out… dead last in the NHL and haven’t made the playoffs in the NFL in over a decade. Hope and BILLieve alright. I guarantee if you make a $5000 bet that neither team will be a contender in 5 to 10 years, nobody will step up and take the bet. Why? The answer to that question should be obvious.

          • davidmuscalo

            Well said, precisely my sentiments.

          • qwicwted

            Greg – I don’t get it. All those prospects you have mentioned are gone. To be honest, I like Miller/Ott deal which resulted in Neuvirth and Stewart. I like the McNabb trade for DesLauriers and Fasching – both good solid prospects and Des looks pretty good for just converting to forward. I also believe the pickup of Conacher was a great move and he seems to fit right in with the club. I like the way Stafford is playing now – playing to his strengths, being physical and showing leadership – this has helped him regain his confidence and led to scoring. So for drastic improvement we also have to include Ehrhoff, Ennis and Meyers. We have some really young prospects who need to play, but I also believe Murray needs to get some veterans to mentor them – Jagr is playing like he’s in his 20′s and is working with some players in NJ, Moulsen and Ott could resign – they knew that being traded was to get draft picks or prospects to strengthen the team. Who knows – either or both could resign again. Rumor has it that Ottawa may look to move Ryan – if so – Tim can call his uncle and see what he’s looking for. Also, Callahan might be another leader that could fit nicely with the team.

            I think Buffalo is in a good position – we have prospects and draft picks and it seems to me that we do have a couple of players that really liked their stay in Buffalo – liked the people, fans and the organization. Patty LaLa might be gone, but he did his job – he found the Sabres a GM.

            Greg and David – there is no guarantee that any player is the next superstar and we have seen instances where a “superstar” went to another team and things just didn’t work out. There are a number of factors that can effect a team trying to win the SC – salary cap, chemistry and injuries are just a few of them.

          • Greg Antilla

            “I don’t get it. All those prospects you have mentioned are gone.” – That was my point. Everyone cooed about these prospects and how they were going to make an impact… and then they were gone. So considering that, it seems that everyone cooing about our upcoming picks and prospects have short term memory loss.

            Regarding everything else… we couldn’t be any further apart on opinion, so it’s probably futile to debate anything here. Losing an elite player and getting a guy good for 4th on the worst team in the league was not a good move, we’re not in good position, nobody is coming back, we will not be a contender in even 5 to 10 years and I’m starting to entertain the idea of putting money on it. I like the odds and salivate at the potential profit.

      • john masich

        I’m happy how we are rebuilding with the 1st round draft picks and young prospects. But also sad to see the last of the core to go wish they could’ve won one here.

        • Greg

          Players come and go, that’s why I never buy a player jersey unless its retired, like PLF, The French Connection, Gare, or Horton

  • Greg

    Since, after reading all these comments and Caitlin’s “opinion”, everyone is WRONG. Briere/Drury was Larry Quinn’s fault, Quinn wanted Drury, Drury wanted to be a Ranger, Quinn didn’t feel Briere was worth 5year/25mil, so Briere felt snubbed and made us pay for it by signing with the Flyers, we all know how that worked out…Add that to NOBODY wants to play for Buffalo, i.e. Brad Richards, who wanted to play for Torts, his coach in TB, Marian Hossa, who wanted to win a Cup, Vanek, like the rest of them and the fans, deserved better

  • john masich

    What does Leino do other than take up cap space? Can’t score or doesn’t have any puck skills every game I see turnover after turnover. Does he know how to play hockey or want to play or win? I don’t see anything positive from him, he showed up for one playoff year for philly than we give him all this money for what ? Who in management thought this guy was the top guy to get that year in free agency? Im sure after the leino the figured out he can’t do shit so they started trading everyone, got rid of ruff and finally regier this year to start from scratch. But the only guy we can’t get rid of is leino no one wants him, leino’s poor performance probably lead to the rebuilding. We have all this money I pray we do a buyout worth the money to get rid of him. Wish we could send him down cause he is worse than anyone in our system.

    • Greg

      We will need his cap hit to stay above the Cap Floor, hence why we have so much money, but agreed Leino is a real Sabre Killer lol