Most hockey players have their share of “war stories,” tales of the suffering and sacrifices they have made on behalf of the sport. But Jimmy Vesey has a story that can stand up to the best of them. After all, how many players have literally given their two front teeth for the game?
Vesey added that particular honor to his credit back in November 2017. He was tussling with Zack Kassian, a forward for the Edmonton Oilers when Kassian planted the tip of his boot square in Vesey’s mouth. The incident happened early in the second period.
It was only after leaving the ice that Vesey realized the extent of his dental dilemma. “They (the doctors) had to remove the teeth,” he told the New York Post after the incident. “Luckily enough, they found them buried in my lip.” Ouch!
It’s a testament to Vesey’s toughness that he returned to the game during the third period, dislodged teeth and all. He spent the next day, a Sunday, getting patched up by dentists and showed up on Monday for team training.
In a sport known for its rough-and-tumble ways, the 26-year-old from North Reading, MA has proven that he can lose a few teeth and still come out on top.
This bodes well for Sabre fans, who want their new winger to show his worth when the team’s regular season starts on October 3rd. All signs are that the Pittsburgh Penguins will have their mitts full when the Sabres pay then a visit.
From the Ivy League to the Ice Rink
Jimmy Vesey comes from a pro hockey family. His dad, James Vesey, played for the Blues and the Bruins before hanging up his hockey stick. He’s now a scout for the Maple Leafs.
James has two sons, Jimmy and his sibling Nolan, who plays for the University of Maine. Nolan was drafted by Toronto in 2014.
As for Jimmy, he spent his academic years playing for Harvard’s upper crust fans, winning the Hobey Baker award in 2016. He wrapped up his university years with a total of 144 points scored in 128 games. He was named ECAC player of the years after the 2014-15 season.
At first, it looked like Vesey was headed down south to Nashville after general manager David Poile offered him a roster spot during the 2012 NHL draft. But Vesey declined the offer, choosing to remain a free agent. This is legal under NHL bargaining rules.
The Sabres picked up Jimmy’s rights during 2016’s summer bargaining. Nonetheless, Vesey did not feel that the time was right for him to sign with Buffalo. He went with the Rangers instead, topping off a grueling training camp by winning the Lars-Erik Sjöberg award.
Vesey scored his first professional goal in a battle with the San Jose Sharks on October 17th of 2016. He went on to distinguish himself as a valued member of the Rangers lineup.
Jimmy’s second opportunity to play for the Sabres came around in July of this year when the team acquired him during a trade with the Rangers. He received the same compensation package that he was offered earlier, a sign of his evergreen abilities.
What Vesey Brings to Buffalo’s Table
Sabres fans will never forget last season’s less-than-spectacular scoring, especially during the final 57 games. With a modest 145 goals over that span, the team finished near the bottom of NHL rankings.
This points out the need for coach Ralph Kreuger to build some serious offensive presence, which is where Vesey comes into the picture. His blue-collar style allows him to take command of the critical area in front of the net. With a keen eye and aggressive instinct, he will be a huge feather in the Sabres’ cap come autumn.
Looking Good Going into October
The upcoming season will offer many chances for Sabres fans to show their support both in-person and online, as sites like Fox Bet become active. With Vesey and other top-level players on the team, things have never looked better for the boys from Buffalo.