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Austrian hockey president: Choosing Vanek as Olympic captain went wrong

By John Vogl

Austria had a terrible Olympic tournament, and the country's hockey fans are reeling as to one of the reasons why. The players spent too much time partying.

The backlash is in full swing, and Thomas Vanek is in the middle of it.

The former Sabres captain wore the "C" for Austria, which went 1-4 with a goal differential of minus-12. The Austrians disappeared with a meek 4-0 loss to Slovenia in the elimination round.

"Chose Vanek as team captain to have an experienced player and this obviously went wrong," Austrian Ice Hockey Federation President Dieter Kalt said at a news conference.

Several players reportedly spent the night before the elimination game in the Austria House and a local bar drinking until 6 a.m.

"After internal discussions there will be consequences," said coach Manny Viveiros in this Eishockey.at story that was translated through Google. "I am very disappointed by the team. ... The behavior of individual players is inexcusable."

Viveiros said he didn't feel he needed to babysit the team, but in retrospect that was a mistake in judgment.

"We will publish their names in the next days," the coach said.

Vanek, who is regarded as an Austrian sports hero, had no goals, one assist and a minus-4 rating in four games. The Sabres traded him to the Islanders in October, and he is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

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Olympics | Thomas Vanek
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | [email protected]

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Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

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Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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