Wings’ Vanek takes ‘wait-and-see’ approach to rumors

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Thomas Vanek looks like he’ll be in the Red Wings lineup for Wednesday’s game against St. Louis.

As for after the March 1 trade deadline? Probably not, with the Red Wings’ losing ways sinking them deeper in the standings and the team looking to swap at the deadline, rather than add pieces.

Vanek has been through this before, being traded this time of year in his career, and appears comfortable with the fact it’s going to happen again.

“Wait and see, wait for a phone call I guess for someone to let me know if I’m staying or going,” Vanek said of his approach for the next couple of weeks. “I’ve got to worry about tomorrow and make sure my game is good tomorrow and that’s all about I can control.

“Do I like it here? Yes, I do. Do I see myself saying here? That would be great.

“But again, it’s a business and Kenny (general manager Ken Holland) has to make a decision at the same time. If there is a deal to be made and it’s right on both sides, would it surprise me if he would move me? If he get something good, not at all.”

Vanek, 33, signed a one-year free agent contract July 1 with the Red Wings, for $2.6 million, and it’s proven to be one of the shrewd signings of the off-season.

Vanek is tied for the team lead with 14 goals, and his 36 points ranks second to Henrik Zetterberg (41). He has a plus-3 plus-minus rating and team-leading five power-play goals.

There’s likely a good chance the Red Wings would look to re-sign Vanek this summer if he tests the free-agent market again.

And Vanek sounds as if he hopes they would.

“I like it here a lot,” Vanek said. “It’s been a good fit, and as I’ve said it before, it’s a good culture here. Are we one of the top teams in the league? I don’t think so. Are we too far from getting back to the playoffs and making noise? I don’t think so. We’re not there, but this team can get there.”

Nyquist update

Gustav Nyquist will have a phone hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety Wednesday afternoon.

After consulting with his agents and Holland, Nyquist waived his right to an in-person hearing regarding his high-sticking incident Sunday with Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon.

Nyquist struck Spurgeon’s face, and just missed an eye, as Nyquist retaliated for crosschecks from Spurgeon in the first period.

The league holds the right to suspend Nyquist for a minimum of six games because he was offered the in-person option.

“Obviously it’s not how I am as a player, it’s a different situation to be in,” Nyquist said of the hearing. “I’m just glad he’s OK and he’s able to play.

“This isn’t the player I am, I haven’t been in this situation before. It’s new for me and I hope people don’t think that’s the kind of player I am.

“It’s different and it’s not fun. It won’t happen again, that’s for sure.”

Coach Jeff Blashill felt there was no intentional act by Nyquist on the play.

“The one thing I can’t say emphatically enough is I’ve known Gus a long time and no way possible that was an intentional act,” Blashill said. “I saw the optics on it, but there’s no chance there was an intentional (act).

“Anyone who has been around the league as a player or has coached him (Nyquist), I know how the optics are and they’ll (player safety) have to do their jobs, I get that, but without question you see his reaction as soon as it happens …with guys that are angry, they don’t react that way.”

Nyquist appeared remorseful as soon as incident occurred.

Nyquist said he reached out to Spurgeon after the game to make.

Ice chips

Jimmy Howard (sprained knee) skated on his own before practice, but Blashill wouldn’t speculate as to when the goaltender could return.

…Blashill, on the increasing talk trades and possibly missing the playoffs: “One thing you learn in this business is not to listen to the outside noise. Our focus, I told the guys both on Saturday and Sunday, we played very strong games 5-on-5. We did a ton of things that will allow you to win hockey games. The results aren’t good enough but we have to make sure we replicate a similar performance 5-on-5 and continue to get a little better.”

Petr Mrazek is expected to get the start in net.

Blues at Red Wings

Faceoff: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: NBC Sports Network/97.1 FM

Outlook: St. Louis (29-22-5, 63 points) has won four consecutive games. ... RW Vladimir Tarasenko (26 goals, 27 assists) is among the league leaders offensively and G Jake Allen (21-14-3, .904) has played well during this win streak.