Kevin SchultzLast night the Montreal Canadiens visited the Buffalo Sabres in what was Thomas Vanek’s first return to Buffalo following his trade from the Sabres to the Islanders in October. The Habs won 2-0 in regulation, pushing them two points closer to the playoffs and the Islanders that much closer to the conditional pick they acquired in the deal that sent Vanek to Montreal.
Prior to the game, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl caught up with Vanek in what was a pretty candid interview even by Vanek’s usually somewhat open standards. And yes, they did talk about the Islanders. The entire article and audio of the interview are here, so check that out. The most relevant portions are below.
First off, here’s Vanek on why he wanted to leave the Sabres:
So, free agency on July 1st was something that came to mind early for him.
Vanek also expressed regret that the Sabres teams of the mid-00s didn’t go further. With Chris Drury and Daniel Briere he felt the team was this close to something bigger — which is probably right — but those players left and were never replaced.
And on the negotiations with the Islanders:
“I don’t know what the right word for it is. Unnecessary, I guess,” Vanek said. “I don’t think it did good for both sides of us. At the end of the day, whoever came out with it, so be it. I had to answer the questions and move on.”
Vanek is referring to Newsday’s report on February 3 that stated he had turned down a large offer in the neighborhood of his current contract, which (publicly anyway) set the wheels in motion for the trade deadline.
There’s two sides to every story, of course. Here’s Arthur Staple’s response on Twitter last night:
And finally, Vanek on July 1 again and his time in NY after the contract offer: