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Austrian homecoming did wonders for Sabres' Vanek

Updated: February 8, 2013, 8:28 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- If not for the NHL lockout, Thomas Vanek would have missed a rare opportunity to return home to play in his native Austria.

The time off and the brief but sweet homecoming last fall did wonders for the Buffalo Sabres' play-making forward. It was a European vacation Vanek credits for rekindling his passion for the game and helping him rediscover his scoring touch.

"Spending five weeks at home, I got to see how big the game had grown. I went back and every rink was ...

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