Every two weeks, registered customers get to text their questions to a specific player. Answers to select questions are then posted on Sabres.com. Click here for more information and to register.
The latest interview was with Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek
Do you still follow the Minnesota Golden Gophers? Do you and Drew Stafford ever bet on the games when they play North Dakota?
"Yeah I definitely still follow the team and I know they are having a great season this year. I had a lot of fun there in school and learned a lot playing in that program.
"Drew and I don’t make bets or anything like that but we do talk a lot of college hockey especially when those teams face each other."
What do you remember about your first Thanksgiving in North America and do you have any similar or national holidays that you celebrate in Austria?
"No we don’t have any holidays like that. I remember my first Thanksgiving though. I didn’t know much about it at the time and remember just all of the food that my billet family had. There was so much and it seemed like they just were bringing more and more out. That was an experience for me."
I know you list Herman Maier as one of your favorite athletes – have you always been a fan of ski racing and do you ski at all?
"I think just coming from a big ski country in Austria I have always followed the sport. He is one of the best and I’ve enjoyed watching him as an athlete. I haven’t gotten the chance to meet him yet, but I really would like to make it happen. We’ve been at the same place at times but for one reason or another we end up missing each other. I’d like to meet him though, I’m a big fan.
"As far as skiing myself, I haven’t gone as much as I’d like to but I try to go when I can. It’s a great sport."
Do you watch different forwards in the NHL and maybe try to imitate their moves in the offensive zone?
"Not really. I watch a lot of teams and study players but not with those intentions. I think that everybody has their own style, and I have my own style. Every player has a set of moves that they try to use and it’s good to know what they are but I don’t really copy them."
Leaving Austria when you were 14 years old, who was one person who helped you acclimate to life in North America? What was the biggest difference or hardest thing to get used to culturally?
"I had really great billet families and they helped me with everything. The toughest part was obviously the language barrier. When I came here I didn’t know a word of English and that took a while to learn. But I had a lot of support which really made things easier being so young."
Who is one goaltender that you hate to face?
"All of them.
"With the way the game is played now goals are hard to come by and every goaltender makes it difficult."
Why do you think that you and Derek Roy are so compatible on a line together? Have you ever had long-term chemistry like that with another linemate?
"No I can’t say that I have. Part of that is because I never played on a team for more than a few seasons so Buffalo is really the first place that I have been able to do that. I think the chemistry comes from knowing a player. Derek and I know each other’s tendencies and have played with each other so long now that I think they complement each other. That familiarity helps on the ice."
Who has the worst taste in music on the team and what do you listen to?
"I don’t know. That’s a tough question.
"I like country music a lot but I listen to a little bit of everything."