KOSICE – Austria has to participate in the 2011 IIHF World Championship without its best player. The Buffalo Sabres didn’t release Thomas Vanek 24 hours after the Austrians had announced his coming.
The Austrian team management originally announced on Wednesday at the last exhibition game, a 3-2 defeat on home ice in Innsbruck against the United States, that Vanek would join the team next week.
However, a medical test showed that Vanek’s middle finger is injured. Due to the injury the Buffalo Sabres didn’t release Vanek for the Austrian national team.
“Of course it’s a pity that he can’t come. We would have needed him, but now we have to survive without him,” Austria’s head coach Bill Gilligan said.
Vanek was Buffalo’s scoring leader with 32 goals and 41 assists in 80 games. He also scored five goals in the playoffs – third-best behind Philadelphia’s Daniel Brière and Anaheim’s Teemu Selänne so far.