Its hard for me to describe what I feel right now. I am of course blogging about the happenings surrounding Thomas Vanek. Should I thank Kevin Lowe for finally forcing the Sabres' hand into signing one of its key players to a long term contract, or should I be annoyed at his possibly devious and destructive antics?
I suppose its hard to fault the man for doing his job. He apparently had engaged in talks with Darcy Regier last night, receiving word that Buffalo would match any offer sheet given to Vanek. Did Lowe smell a bluff, or was he only using Buffalo as a sacrificial lamb in his quest to land his own RFA. If it is the latter, its hard to understand what advantage he could gain from making this type of an offer. This, to me, may be yet another crushing blow to the "should have been fixed" economic system in the NHL. It is hard to imagine how another small market GM could pull such a stunt, and stick it to another small market team as he did. On the other hand, if it is the former, then he was simply making a move at a top notch NHL forward, who in two short years has buried the puck in the back of the net 65+ times.
On the other hand, perhaps this is nothing more than the result of how business is run in the Sabres' organization. It is obvious to me, that this is one of the many potential repercussoins of the Briere and Drury fallouts. Why wouldn't Vanek sign an offer sheet like the one presented to him today? He can't feel that the Sabres' organization is committed to keeping its key players around, especially if they couldn't bring back their captains (once again, not this year, but 1-2 years ago). Hopefully this will be a lesson well learned, and maybe they will wise up, and sit down with Derek Roy before his arbitration hearing and get a deal DONE! One thing worth noting is that Vanek did not play with Drury or Briere. He played with Derek Roy as his center. Roy is a bonafide playmaking center, and Vanek sorely needs him on his line. BRING HIM BACK LONG TERM!
In conclusion, I will simply say that regardless of what the reasoning was for Lowe to offer such a deal, I suppose all is well that ends well, and Vanek will be a Sabre for 7 more years. That said, the current economic situation that the NHL and its small market teams face, is a scary one. I can only hope the Sabres will be around to enjoy Vanek for 7 more years. The path the NHL is on, is a dangerous one for the Sabres and the like. GET IT FIXED!