VILLACH, Austria – The Austrian national team started its preparation in Villach for the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It will be joined by New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner.
“I’m very pleased with the contacts I’ve had with the NHL players,” head coach Manny Viveiros told Austrian news agency APA.
Michael Grabner, whose New York Islanders have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoff race, will join the team next week after having received approval from his NHL team.
Thomas Vanek, who’s battling for a playoff berth with the Buffalo Sabres is questionable for the event, as is Andreas Nödl of the Carolina Hurricanes, currently out with a concussion.
“It doesn’t look good for Nödl. It’s already his second concussion. We will know more in one or two days,” Viveiros said.
However, the players from the Swedish leagues will probably not take part. Konstantin Komarek (Luleå) and Michael Raffl (Leksand) are injured while the situation for Thomas Pöck (MODO Örnsköldsvik) is unclear.
Austria will play exhibition games on home ice against Belarus on Friday and Saturday.