By John Vogl
MONTREAL -- Thomas Vanek is arguably the best player in the NHL right now. The league took notice today.
The NHL has named Vanek the Third Star of January after the Sabres' left winger tore up his opponents last month. He leads the league with 15 points and is second in goals (six) and assists (nine). He has two five-point games, including one Thursday night in Boston to key a 7-4 win over the Bruins.
Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson and San Jose forward Patrick Marleau were the First and Second Stars, respectively.
Heading into Saturday's matinee in Montreal, Vanek is making the game look easy.
"Even when things look easy, it's never easy," he said today after practice in Bell Centre. "It would be more fun if we had a better record. Our game was a nice comeback win, but it put us at .500, which is probably not where we want to be. At the same time, it was a good game for us, and tomorrow we'll just have to build off that."
The Sabres had a light skate in downtown Montreal, with everyone on the ice except injured Patrick Kaleta, Ville Leino and Robyn Regehr. Buffalo closed the session by singing happy birthday to Tyler Myers, who turned 23 today. Coach Lindy Ruff was asked what he gave the defenseman for the milestone.
"Advice," Ruff said.
Myers and partner Jordan Leopold struggled against the Bruins, but Ruff kept them together during today's practice. To hear from Ruff and Vanek (who was interviewed before the NHL's announcement), click the audio files below.
taggedThomas Vanek | Tyler Myers