Buffalo Sabres' Thomas Vanek (26), of Austria, vies for the puck with Carolina Hurricanes' Jerome Samson (71) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, March 7, 2012. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Sabres forward Thomas Vanek is returning to North America after completing an 11-game stint playing for his hometown team in Graz, Austria.
In an entry Vanek posted on his website Monday, the player wrote he's on his way back to Buffalo now that Graz is entering a break in its schedule. He had five goals and 10 assists for the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga team.
Vanek wrote he's looking forward to being back with his wife and children, and is keeping his fingers crossed to see if there's any progress in NHL labour negotiations.
Vanek has not ruled out the possibility of returning to play in Europe this winter if the lockout continues.
The Sabres selected Vanek with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft.