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The relationship between Ruff and Vanek

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Old
12-11-2011, 01:32 PM
  #1
gallagt01
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The relationship between Ruff and Vanek

DISCLAIMER: This is pure speculation. I'm not in the locker room and don't know if the following is even remotely close to what's actually going on.


A few friends and I were talking this morning and we brought up Wednesday's Sabres/Flyers game. Pierre Macguire noted that Ruff was lashing out at Vanek for something. He went on to say that Ruff yelled something along the lines of "look at me when I'm speaking to you."

For a few years, I've sensed a rift in Vanek and Ruff's relationship. Ruff has certainly always held Vanek to a high standard, and if he doesn't meet that standard Van has found himself glued to the bench. There was also a time where he wouldn't give Vanek the ice time that a player of his ilk should get (he'd get around ~16 mins a game). This was a few seasons ago.

Fast forward to last season (rewind to fast forward to last season?), when Vanek carried this team to the playoffs after Roy went down. His level of play was elite, and Ruff noticed. His playoff, while he didn't play particularly great, was still good in terms of production.

Then we had the captaincy decision over the summer. Again, this is just speculation, but I think Vanek thought it was his and kind of took it as a slap to the face that he didn't get the C. Yes, his demeanor is always calm and he certainly doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve, but he was stone-faced when he got the jersey from Ruff in that video that was released.

He came out playing better than ever early this season. Kind of in a "I'm going to show you, Coach" kind of way. Determined to prove to Lindy wrong.

Lately, however, his production has tailed off. He's doing a lot of floating.Lazy penalties. His forecheck hasn't been good (due to not keeping his feet moving). When Vanek is active on the forecheck and keeps his feet moving, you can tell. He'll get the puck more often than not.

He's started to fall back into his old Vanek tendencies, and he got a tongue-lashing from Lindy.

I praise Vanek a lot. I think he's the most talented player on the team, and in the dud they dropped against Detroit he looked like the only player that belonged on the ice for the Sabres.

For as much praise as I give him, I'm starting to wonder if Vanek is beginning to tune Ruff out. They've never had the smoothest relationship, but I truly wonder if Vanek wants Lindy out of here. Again, just speculation.

He's not a prima donna egotistical player that's going to demand a trade or coaching change. I think he's a very good team guy on top of being a great player. But you've got to wonder if deep down, he's okay with Ruff getting the ax.

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12-11-2011, 01:39 PM
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barcs
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I think there is a mutual respect between the two despite their differences. I truly think Lindy trusts and respects Van and knows what buttons to push to get what he wants out of him. At the same time, I think Vanek would go through walls for Lindy and takes his responsibility as "the goal scorer" very seriously.

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12-11-2011, 01:54 PM
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Lately, however, his production has tailed off. He's doing a lot of floating.Lazy penalties. His forecheck hasn't been good (due to not keeping his feet moving). When Vanek is active on the forecheck and keeps his feet moving, you can tell. He'll get the puck more often than not.
This just seems like you tailoring your story to make it fit better, because I haven't seen this at all. He was all over the ice last night.

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12-11-2011, 01:58 PM
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This just seems like you tailoring your story to make it fit better, because I haven't seen this at all. He was all over the ice last night.
I thought he was awful last night other than the goal, and that was because of poor defense from the Ranger's forwards. He's been pretty bad for the last 5-6 games.

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12-11-2011, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by barcs View Post
I think there is a mutual respect between the two despite their differences. I truly think Lindy trusts and respects Van and knows what buttons to push to get what he wants out of him. At the same time, I think Vanek would go through walls for Lindy and takes his responsibility as "the goal scorer" very seriously.
FWIW, I think Ruff has stated several times since Vanek's rookie year that he knows that Vanek is his most talented player and the guy with the most talent to give - which is why he's probably harder on him than maybe others.

Vanek, as he's matured, probably understands that as a reason for Ruff putting pressure on him - and he's been tough on himself for the same reason. I wouldn't say Vanek is willing to "go through walls" for Ruff personally as much as he now is willing to do so for the sake of the team. He knows the coach is part of the team so he probably isn't letting any grudges or disagreements with Ruff get in the way of his greater responsibility to his teammates and trying to win.

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12-11-2011, 02:04 PM
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gallagt01
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This just seems like you tailoring your story to make it fit better, because I haven't seen this at all. He was all over the ice last night.
Aside from a couple great plays in transition I didn't like his game at all. He had one standout backcheck and got open a couple of times behind the D. Other than that thought he did a lot of standing still, not moving his feet and just lazy play. Especially on the forecheck. I didn't tailor anything.

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12-11-2011, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sabretip View Post
Vanek, as he's matured, probably understands that as a reason for Ruff putting pressure on him - and he's been tough on himself for the same reason. I wouldn't say Vanek is willing to "go through walls" for Ruff personally as much as he now is willing to do so for the sake of the team. He knows the coach is part of the team so he probably isn't letting any grudges or disagreements with Ruff get in the way of his greater responsibility to his teammates and trying to win.
Can't argue with that. He's become a great teammate/leader.

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12-11-2011, 02:28 PM
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ruff knows how hard he can push vanek. if he didn't think he could take a tongue lashing on the bench, he wouldn't have given it to him. players respond to different things. i think way too much is being made of this incident.

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12-11-2011, 02:29 PM
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If there is a rift between the two, you know blind homer Pegula will pick his mediocre garbage coach over the only true elite player we have.Hire a coach who will give Vanek the premier minutes he deserves, not this ******** 17 minutes a game. So sick of Lindsay Ruff, the guy is a joke as a coach and I promise you will never lead the Sabres to a cup win. Same loser coach who has gotten out coached by bums like Hitchcock, Laviolette and Bryan Murray.

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12-11-2011, 02:35 PM
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I guess I don't see the point in doing psychoanalysis on this. Thomas Vanek isn't going to get Ruff fired, and Lindy Ruff isn't going to have Thomas Vanek moved.

I don't care if they get along great, or hate each other, or anything in between. Results is what matters.

Frankly, I feel like Vanek is playing the best hockey of his career right now. And that's what matters most.

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12-11-2011, 02:44 PM
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If I was Vanek I wouldn't give a rats ass what Ruff was saying to me.
As a matter of fact, if I was Vanek I'd tell Ruff to get Regier to get him a Center worth a crap or trade me. And if I was Vanek, after saying that, I'd tell him to "Look At Me When I Talk To You"

Just my 2 pennies.......

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12-11-2011, 03:03 PM
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Timbo Slice
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I don't think so. I think Lindy drives Vanek to be better, even if he has to be a "bad guy" while doing it. Vanek has become twice the player he was in his rookie season because of Ruff's constant coaching/nagging.

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12-11-2011, 03:09 PM
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Lindy before the 09-10 (I think) season.

Paraphrasing: "If Van gives us elite play, he'll get elite minutes."

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12-11-2011, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Timbo Slice View Post
I don't think so. I think Lindy drives Vanek to be better, even if he has to be a "bad guy" while doing it. Vanek has become twice the player he was in his rookie season because of Ruff's constant coaching/nagging.
I could just as easily say that Vanek has become less of a pure goal scorer and more of a well rounded 2 way Left Winger because of Ruff. Ultimately leading to less offensive punch in the goal scoring department.
You say Tomato I say Tomato.......

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12-11-2011, 04:02 PM
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Who knows?

My best guess would be there is some friction but it wouldn't be the first time a star athlete wasn't all cozy with his HC.

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12-11-2011, 04:20 PM
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Vanek needs to be better, I don't mind Ruff calling him out because he has been **** the last couple of games. He needs to get his ass out of his head. Pominville has been better by far.

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12-11-2011, 04:33 PM
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Ruff has certainly rounded Vanek's game and helped make him a better player. This is a thread about their relationship even without the results though.

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12-11-2011, 04:34 PM
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Coaches aren't there to be players friends, they are there to get the players best out of the player by whatever means necessary.

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12-11-2011, 05:36 PM
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I think Vanek is playing the best hockey of his career, especially on the defensive side of things. That's part Ruff coaching, part Vanek's desire to continue to improve his two-way game. Maybe Ruff's jabbering in Vanek's ear because the latter still listens to what he has to say.

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12-11-2011, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by static80 View Post
If I was Vanek I wouldn't give a rats ass what Ruff was saying to me.
As a matter of fact, if I was Vanek I'd tell Ruff to get Regier to get him a Center worth a crap or trade me. And if I was Vanek, after saying that, I'd tell him to "Look At Me When I Talk To You"

Just my 2 pennies.......

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12-11-2011, 09:25 PM
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A couple years ago Ruff said he wanted to turn Vanek into one of the top two-way forwards in the league. Judging by the past few years, Ruff has succeeded. His job now, is to keep Vanek going strong. Sometimes a star player, no matter how good he is, just needs a kick in the butt. Going that harshly at him may have been overboard, but he needed something to get him going again.

Just to be clear, Vanek has pure, ridiculous, unadulterated talent. I think point wise, he would be right where he is, possibly even a little higher under a different coach. Having said that; however, I truly believe that Vanek would not be the great defensive player he became, had it not been for Lindy.

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12-11-2011, 09:31 PM
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Well if he wants him to be the captain....


Last edited by ImpressedDAHagent: 12-11-2011 at 09:49 PM.
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12-11-2011, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Kishire View Post
Vanek needs to be better, I don't mind Ruff calling him out because he has been **** the last couple of games. He needs to get his ass out of his head. Pominville has been better by far.
Even Vanek can't carry an AHL team. Give him some team mates to play with. You can say Pominville has been great but that is mostly because of Vanek. 26 is suppose to be the goal scorer and 29 the playmaker but Vanek has been the finisher and setup man while giving Pominville scoring opportunities left and right but he rarely finishes.

I'm not sure how the relationship between Lindy and Thomas is but it's clear Ruff holds Vanek to a higher standard then everyone else(as he should). I was for the benching's early in Vanek's career as it can be very effective. I thought he should have been doing the same to Myers for about a year before he finally did(Myers first game back he had 2 goals).

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12-12-2011, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by PanicItsVanek26 View Post
Even Vanek can't carry an AHL team. Give him some team mates to play with. You can say Pominville has been great but that is mostly because of Vanek. 26 is suppose to be the goal scorer and 29 the playmaker but Vanek has been the finisher and setup man while giving Pominville scoring opportunities left and right but he rarely finishes.

I'm not sure how the relationship between Lindy and Thomas is but it's clear Ruff holds Vanek to a higher standard then everyone else(as he should). I was for the benching's early in Vanek's career as it can be very effective. I thought he should have been doing the same to Myers for about a year before he finally did(Myers first game back he had 2 goals).
I'm not saying he should be out there scoring 3 goals every game. I'm saying he should play hard every shift and IMO, he looks like he's been floating lately. He's been good on the backcheck, but offensively, there is nothing there.

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12-12-2011, 12:46 AM
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gallagt01
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I'm not saying he should be out there scoring 3 goals every game. I'm saying he should play hard every shift and IMO, he looks like he's been floating lately. He's been good on the backcheck, but offensively, there is nothing there.
It's his forecheck and play away from the puck in the offensive zone more than anything. Generally, something good happens when Vanek has the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. The guy is a criminally underrated passer. He has cross ice looks that even the player he passes to isn't expecting sometimes.

He's been doing a lot of floating though. When he turns the forecheck on in a game it's noticeable dominance by TV.

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