There was no mincing Thomas Vanek's feelings about his disallowed overtime goal Saturday afternoon against St. Louis.
"I thought it was a terrible call," Vanek said. "I think we all know what a kicking motion is. My skate never elevated, it was on the ice the whole time. I don't know if it's because who we are. I think if that's Pittsburgh or some of those top teams, it's maybe a goal. For that to be overturned is just too bad."
The announcers are pretty clear in their feelings that it was a goal. "No argument at all," one said even before it went to review. Afterwards? "You're kidding? Are you kidding me?" But the NHL saw a distinct kicking motion. But I don't think the replay officials in Toronto were using this GIF.
Of course, it could be easy to see this as good news for the Wild's interest in Vanek, a former University of Minnesota standout. But, the tea leaves earlier this week were pointing to Vanek's being open to staying on Long Island. according to Newsday:
There haven't been any substantive contract talks between the two sides, which just adds to the limbo of the situation. But even though Vanek hasn't indicated via his agent or directly to Snow whether he'd be willing to sign before July 1, saying that the Islanders "would definitely be on my list" when free agency begins could be seen as a sign he's not crossing them off to force a trade.
"Even if they traded me, sure," Vanek said. "I like it here, it's a good group of guys. This would be a place I'd consider if it gets to July 1."
In a Newsday profile a day earlier, Islanders GM Garth Snow said that talks with Steve Bartlett, Vanek's agent, would be starting soon. Bartlett's view of the situation? Here's Pierre LeBrun from ESPN.com:
"There’s no question he has liked his teammates, he has liked his coaches, has been impressed with [Isles GM] Garth Snow and management; two weeks into it he realized there was tons of positives that he liked," Vanek’s agent, the veteran Stephen Bartlett, told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "Does that mean that we’re ready to sign on the dotted line? No that’s still being discussed in a number of ways. They have to make a decision where he fits into their team structure ... and Thomas has to decide whether at this stage of his career if that’s the best spot for him. But his decision in the end won’t reflect at all in the fact that he’s found way more positives than negatives about his experience on the Island. He’s had nothing but positives to say to me about the way he’s been treated."
Maybe the disallowed goal will fire him to stay with the Islanders and prove something? One date to watch, according to Newsday, is March 5, the trade deadline. ESPN.com says something has to happen before that.