Thomas Vanek likes LI, but he won't discuss new contract in immediate future

Thomas Vanek takes a shot on goal in

Thomas Vanek takes a shot on goal in the first period of a game against the Dallas Stars. (Jan. 22, 2014) (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

DALLAS - Contract talks have not begun in earnest between Thomas Vanek's agent and the Islanders, but Vanek isn't concerned. There have been initial discussions, but both sides still are waiting to see the direction the Islanders will go in the next month heading into the Olympic break and the March 5 trade deadline.

"I'm sure we'll talk, but I'm trying to stay out of it," Vanek said. "Until something gets close, I need to focus on the games."

Vanek is coming off a seven-year, $50-million deal that he signed with the Sabres as a 22-year-old. Vanek, now 29 and the father of three boys, has slightly different priorities now than the last time around.

"We had just one baby then, so things were different," he said. "I would be lying if I said it doesn't come down to money and term. You've got to sell yourself for what you're worth, because you can't play forever. But at the same time, there are other concerns, like what's best for my family.

"We've been on the road a lot, but when we're home, the family has been with me [on Long Island]. We've taken the train to the city, things like that. It's a new place and it's nice. We loved Buffalo, too, even though everyone said we'd hate it. When you can call a place home, you start to find the good things about it."

Nabokov skates

Goalie Evgeni Nabokov (quad) skated yesterday for the first time since suffering his injury a week ago. He's eligible to come off injured reserve today, but likely will remain off the roster for several more days.

'Home' cooking

Being the first NHL player from Oklahoma doesn't get you many opportunities to be near family and friends, but Matt Donovan came as close as he could Sunday. "I played here [when I was 16] and made the trip from Oklahoma City to Dallas every weekend to play," said Donovan, who estimated he had "a couple hundred" people he knew in the crowd.

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