Nov 5, 2012, 11:59 AM EST
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.
Mar 6, 2015, 9:50 AM EST
Both players were scheduled to become restricted free agents after this season.
Mar 6, 2015, 9:45 AM EST
He was handed the key to the city on Thursday in Ottawa.
Mar 6, 2015, 8:50 AM EST
He’s been out of the lineup since Feb. 13.
Mar 6, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Friday’s collection of links.
Mar 6, 2015, 1:36 AM EST
Minnesota, Calgary and L.A. all win on Thursday.
Mar 6, 2015, 12:34 AM EST
Philly comes back with three goals in the third period.
Mar 6, 2015, 12:02 AM EST
Arizona snaps 10-game losing streak.
Mar 5, 2015, 11:46 PM EST
Mar 5, 2015, 11:02 PM EST
Brock Nelson scored the winner.
Mar 5, 2015, 10:23 PM EST
“That. Just. Happened!”
Mar 5, 2015, 10:11 PM EST
“It’s humbling there’s no question.”
Mar 5, 2015, 9:16 PM EST
Once a 30-goal scorer in the NHL.
Mar 5, 2015, 8:40 PM EST
Curtis McKenzie drops the gloves.
Mar 5, 2015, 7:13 PM EST
“At the same time, Mike will maintain his focus on doing all he can to help Nashville win its first-ever Stanley Cup.”
Mar 5, 2015, 6:47 PM EST
Won’t suit up when the Caps take on Minnesota.
Mar 5, 2015, 6:24 PM EST
That’s former minor-league player Jordan Hart.
Mar 5, 2015, 5:27 PM EST
Big forward who doesn’t mind dropping the gloves.
Mar 5, 2015, 4:26 PM EST
He recently called them the “best group I’ve had since ’09.”
Mar 5, 2015, 3:35 PM EST
Might get into coaching.
Mar 5, 2015, 3:00 PM EST
Nashville’s won just two of its last eight.
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