Ott Fined, Vanek Downgraded, & More News

Thomas Vanek has surprised naysayers by starting the season on a tear. Despite missing the last two games, he’s tied for the team lead in Detroit with eight points.

But Vanek’s return does not appear to be imminent. Sunday, head coach Jeff Blashill labeled Vanek “week-to-week” with an undisclosed injury, saying that Vanek is not expected to play in the coming week.

That bad news for Vanek, who was looking to bounce back after being bought out by the Wild over the summer. But it might be worse news for the Red Wings. There weren’t many who expected them to be a top team this season, but they have thus far surprised those expectations by starting 6-3-0, the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

At least on paper, they don’t have the offensive depth of other Eastern Conference powerhouses. It will be the first major test of the season to carry on without their top point producer in the early part of the season. Saturday against the Bruins, the second of Vanek’s absences, the Wings had their six-game winning streak broken in a 1-0 loss at home.

You Ott Not to Do That

The NHL has fined Detroit Red Wings forward Steve Ott the maximum amount allowable under the CBA for spearing Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara in Saturday’s loss.

The 6-foot Ott tangled with the 6-foot-9 Chara for quite a while after Ott speared Chara in the groin just 43 seconds into the game. Ott wasn’t penalized on the play for the spear, though both received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Blackhawks Offer Cubs Advice

With the Chicago Cubs on the brink of World Series elimination, members of the Blackhawks are offering advice on how to break through the pressure.

“It’s one game at this stage of the series, that’s the focus, that’s the concentration,” coach Joel Quenneville told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago-Sun Times. “They have to win big games. They’ve won a lot of big games and that’s how you’ve got to look at it. You can’t look past it.”

Center Marcus Kruger offered some advice as well. “If you change the perspective on it, it’s going to be the toughest game for Cleveland to win, too, to get the fourth win. It’s more pressure on them maybe now than on the Cubs, and if [the Cubs] can win this one at home now, they don’t have as much pressure maybe on the road.”

Jets Without Myers

The Winnipeg Jets announced in advance of Sunday’s afternoon tilt against the Sabres that they would be without defenseman Tyler Myers, who is out with a lower-body injury.

The team has not revealed what happened and why the 6-foot-8 defender who logs bigs minutes in Manitoba is ailing.

Deslauriers Nicked Up

The Sabres have recalled feisty forward Nicholas Baptiste in advance of Sunday’s contest against the Winnipeg Jets. The reason is that Nicolas Deslauriers has suffered a knee injury that is expected to have him “out weeks.”

Deslauriers has had a rough start to the season. The Los Angeles Kings draft pick has yet to post a point through seven games despite increased opportunity in the forward depth chart because of injuries.

He’s added to a list of injuries in Buffalo that includes top forwards Jack Eichel and Evander Kane.

Odds and Ends

– With the Four Nations Cup about to kick off, Team Canada has named their leadership group. CWHL superstar Marie-Philip Poulin will captain the national team with former Cornell defenseman Laura Fortino and Calgary Inferno forward Haley Irwin wearing the As.

– After one game back in the NHL following a season away, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher is heading back to the AHL. The Lightning announced Sunday that they have reassigned him to the Syracuse Crunch.

– The Minnesota Wild have reassigned both Tyler Graovac and Christoph Bertschy to the Iowa Wild of the AHL, one day after recalling them for a game against the Dallas Stars. In that game both registered a point, including Graovac’s first NHL goal. The reason for the reassignment likely has little to do with their play and more to do with the team having Sunday off and no games until Tuesday. It’s not an unfamiliar move to the cap-crushed Wild. It offers a slight amount of cap relief to take cusp players off the team for a day or two.

– P.K. Subban has impressed with Halloween costumes before (see “Thriller” Michael Jackson below) and his first Halloween in Nashville is no different. He’s put together a spot-on “Purple Rain”-era Prince costume that is to be envied.