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Did too much Austrian partying cost them a spot in the quarterfinals?

Feb 20, 2014, 5:40 AM EDT

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men AP

The Austrian men’s hockey team was never expected to medal at the Olympics, but expectations weren’t so low that it was acceptable to stay out partying (and party hard, according to one report) until the wee hours of the morning after playing Sunday, especially with a good chance to advance to the quarterfinals with a win over Slovenia on Tuesday.

Alas, per eurohockey.com:

After a 3-1 win against Norway to end group B on the 3rd spot on Sunday a group of players celebrated way too heavy. Until up to 6 am the players hung out drinking In the Austria House and a local club in Krasnaya Polyana.

“We had a real chance to reach the quarterfinals I don’t know why this happened, especially before what is most likely the most important game for modern era Austrian ice hockey. It was a shock what happened after the game against Norway,” Austrian head coach Manny Viveiros told the media on Wednesday afternoon.

Viveiros is especially disappointed by Thomas Vanek who he made team captain. According to ÖEHV (Austrian Ice Hockey Federation) president Dieter Kalt: “He also chose Vanek as team captain to have an experienced player and this obviously went wrong”. The star forward of the New York Islanders and his NHL colleagues Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl apologized in a letter for their behaviour.

The Austrians lost to Slovenia, 4-0.

Kukla’s Korner has more on the story, with links to various European reports.

For the record, Vanek, Grabner and Raffl maintained that the partying had no effect on their performance (more than a day later) against Slovenia, but conceded they made a mistake, and apologized for it in a letter.

On the contrary, Viveiros isn’t so sure that the Austrians wouldn’t have been better versus Slovenia if his players had been more responsible: “This was our fourth game in the last seven days against three teams who are among the best in the world. This costs a lot of energy. We only had a small training before the match against Slovenia because regeneration is so important.”

  1. canucks30 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:12 AM

  2. imgoingtowichita - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    You are asking for what Mr. Snow? I’m sorry, Mr. Vanek’s value has hit an iceberg, take the offer now before it gets worse.

    • barkar942 - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      I see now that Comrade Vanek will be banished to Kovalpuke land next season.

  3. slaugin - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Are they saying they had less time to practice and more games played than any other country? Terrible excuses.

    • kaptaanamerica - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      That’s off base, the guy is saying they needed to rest so they could recuperate instead of drinking hard, getting hung over, and not being fully hydrated etc…

  4. djshnooks - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    That is why Buffalo traded him so soon.

    He is a bum. He is selfish. He is a poor leader. His stock has plummeted.

    And no matter what anybody says, Darcy Regier could trade. Hodgson for Kassian? A 1st round pick for Paul Gaustad?

    Not to mention a 1st (possibly #2 overall), a 2nd and Matt Moulson…who has more goals than Vanek since 2011…for Vanek himself? Plus what they get for Moulson?

    Highway robbery.

  5. sadaustrianhockeyfan - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:07 AM

    First of all sorry for me English.
    I’m Austrian and I’m really disappointed!
    I’m a huge hockey fan and I was so proud of the guys.
    Having the chance to make the quarters! How cool was that?
    My friends and I are watching nearly every NHL game were an Austrian is taking part. That’s not easy because the games a very late (01:30am or later, even 04:00am) and on the next day I have to go to work. Then this!
    We had big expectations in our NHL guys and we thought they are proud to represent their country and they will do anything for their team, but now as we see, the don’t even give a sh…t!
    It’s hard to describe how that feels…
    As a fan you do everything to support your guys. You get up early, you go to bed late, you drive to games, buy some jerseys, paint your face, you now you are losing against the big teams but still you are hoping for a good performance and you’re leaving the ring heads up no matter what the result … and then this!
    The biggest game in Austrian history since decades!
    I’m sorry for every hockey fan in my country, I’m sorry for every hockey fan all over the world. That’s just a shame for the guys, for the sport and our flag.
    Thank you Thomas Vanek, thank you Michael Grabner, thank you Michael Raffl for disappointing us in every way.
    You may lose, you may win, as a fan I will be there and cheer and make some noise for you. I’m not sure if I want to watch another game you are taking part. What for? What did you do to help our team win? Drinking! The next time the Islanders and the Flyers are playing I will rest and go to bed, because you don’t mind it anyways.

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