Tonawanda News — "It was a nice backdrop story to an unfortunate lockout," Bartlett says.
Vanek always has played with Jason Pominville. But late last season, coach Lindy Ruff played that twosome with center Cody Hodgson, who was obtained in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks for Zack Kassian. Ruff kept them together this season and, with 18 goals in nine games, that trio has been among the league's most dangerous lines.
"He and Jason have always had good chemistry," Regier says. "Now the chemistry is building among the three of them. If you have two guys with chemistry, it's great. If you have three, it's very unusual."
Regier says Vanek's "level of compete is beyond anything I've seen in the past."
Hodgson's ability to set a table has aided both Vanek and Pominville.
"His best asset is that he can move the puck both left and right," Vanek says. "A lot of centermen if they are left-handed they prefer to stay on the forehand side. Cody is right-handed, but he's almost as good on his backhand as he is his forehand. He reads the game well."
Like most hockey players, Vanek doesn't want to overanalyze why the unit works well together.
"We are passing and shooting, and it's going in," he said. "Is that going to change? I'm sure it is. But it's nice for now."