Skip to content

Vanek leaves Austrian team, returns to Buffalo

Nov 5, 2012, 11:59 AM EST

Thomas Vanek AP

Thomas Vanek is coming home — and ready to play in the NHL again.

That’s the word out of Austrian on Monday as Vanek left the Graz 99ers after his monthlong contract expired.

The Sabres sniper notched 15 points in 11 games for the 99ers and praised the level of play in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, calling it “good, fast hockey” — yet was noncommittal about returning, saying he’s hopeful CBA negotiations have taken a turn for the better.

“I get asked if I’ll return after the international break all the time,” Vanek said on his website. “That may well be, but certainly not right after the break. I want to wait how the negotiations between league and PA are going.

“It seems as if things are going forward a bit.”

The international break covers the first two weeks of November and is often used by a number of NHLers to return home (like Boston’s Tyler Seguin.)

That said, most go home with the intention of returning to Europe.

Oh, and since we profiled Matt Duchene’s displeasure with Swedish League officiating earlier, here’s an interesting note — Vanek took time to rip Austrian league referees in his farewell post.

“What I certainly will not miss are the referees,” he said. “Their performance was… well, let’s just say that I’d rather forget about them.”

Now, this isn’t meant to be a “grass isn’t always greener” post. Far from it. Vanek was hugely complimentary of his time in Austria, calling it a once in a lifetime experience — but at the same time, it’s hard to ignore successive complaints about poor European officiating…from two fairly noteworthy NHL stars.

It’s just another reminder that, at the end of the day, these guys clearly miss playing in the best league in the world.

Latest Posts
  1. Chelios calls ex-teammate Shanahan an inexperienced ‘politician’

    Nov 26, 2014, 4:06 PM EST

    Brendan Shanahan,Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney, Chris Chelios Brendan Shanahan,Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney, Chris Chelios

    “Anybody can GM, anybody can be a president… whether you’re going to be good at it or not, who knows.”

  2. Garbutt to have hearing for kneeing Hall

    Nov 26, 2014, 3:20 PM EST

    GarbuttHallKnee

    Click for video of the incident.

  3. Wild to get ‘good test’ versus Kings, but not expecting it to be ‘fun’

    Nov 26, 2014, 2:57 PM EST

    Jonathan Quick, Zach Parise AP

    Minny dominated L.A. early in the season, but lost 2-1.

  4. Quick healer? Raffl likely back for Flyers tonight

    Nov 26, 2014, 2:27 PM EST

    Michael Raffl Getty Images

    Originally out 4-6 weeks, he’s back in just over three.

  5. Report: Flames close to announcing arena plans

    Nov 26, 2014, 2:04 PM EST

    Vancouver Canucks v Calgary Flames Getty Images

    But how much public money will be required?

  6. Welcome Patrik Berglund to the trade rumor mill

    Nov 26, 2014, 1:03 PM EST

    Patrik Berglund AP

    The Blues are one of the few teams in the NHL with a surplus of quality centers.

  7. With Elliott hurt, Blues make emergency goalie recall

    Nov 26, 2014, 12:57 PM EST

    Brian Elliott Brian Elliott

    Jordan Binnington on his way up to St. Louis.

  8. The day before Thanksgiving, six new playoff teams

    Nov 26, 2014, 12:22 PM EST

    Josh Bailey, John Tavares, Travis Hamonic AP

    What are the chances the Islanders, Leafs, Predators, Canucks, Flames and Jets can hang on?

  9. Calgary waives Setoguchi

    Nov 26, 2014, 12:11 PM EST

    Calgary Flames v Nashville Predators Calgary Flames v Nashville Predators

    Fall from grace for the former 30-goal scorer.

  10. Not a repeat: Pens lose Bennett to injury, again

    Nov 26, 2014, 11:42 AM EST

    WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Beau Bennett #19 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates down the ice against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. Getty Images

    Out “a couple of weeks” with a lower-body injury.

  11. No hearing scheduled for Hanzal after Johnson hit

    Nov 26, 2014, 11:28 AM EST

    HanzalJohnson

    Arizona forward forced the Avs d-man from the game.

  12. No hearing scheduled for Garbutt after kneeing Hall

    Nov 26, 2014, 11:10 AM EST

    GarbuttHallKnee

    Dallas forward does have a history with the NHL’s player safety department.

  13. What they’re saying about St. Louis’ return to Tampa Bay

    Nov 26, 2014, 10:58 AM EST

    Lightning Rangers Trade Hockey AP

    To cheer, or boo? That’s the query.

  14. NHL on NBCSN: Flyers face Red Wings on Rivalry Night

    Nov 26, 2014, 10:50 AM EST

    Jakub Voracek, Jonas Gustavsson, Niklas Kronwall AP

    Two teams headed down different paths?

  15. Shaw returns to Blackhawks’ lineup tonight

    Nov 26, 2014, 10:03 AM EST

    Winnipeg Jets v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    He missed the last three games with an upper-body injury.

Featured video

Eakins on his way out of Edmonton?

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Datsyuk (2753)
  2. V. Hedman (2645)
  3. P. Sharp (2493)
  4. S. Crosby (2389)
  5. D. Krejci (2057)
  1. B. Marchand (1970)
  2. Z. Chara (1928)
  3. B. Dubinsky (1866)
  4. S. Varlamov (1667)
  5. A. Tanguay (1639)