Thomas Vanek certainly enjoyed his time in Sochi, just as he is enjoying his time with the Islanders — and both situations will be short-lived.

It’s inevitable that by the March 5 trade deadline, general manager Garth Snow will trade Vanek, now even more so in the wake of star center John Tavares’ injury, sustained while playing for Team Canada en route to its gold medal. The Islanders are 12 points out of a playoff position with six teams to leapfrog as the final 22-game stretch begins on Thursday with the Maple Leafs at the Coliseum.
While playing for his native Austria, Vanek saw Tavares in Russia, and said the Isles captain took the news of his torn MCL and torn meniscus, which ended his NHL season, rather hard. Vanek also created a bit of a scandal when he and his teammates were said to have partied into the early-morning hours after a group-stage win over Norway last Sunday.

It was followed two days later with a 4-0 loss to Slovenia in the elimination round, leading many in the European media to run with the story.

“Some of the headlines, especially in Europe, that to me was sad and ridiculous,” Vanek told The Post after the Islanders’ Sunday practice in Syosset, his first since returning. “They’re making it sound like there was 25 guys. It was just a few guys stayed out later, and even that, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but it wasn’t an issue.

“We had a practice the next day, Monday night, I think everyone focused all day Monday,” said Vanek, who admitted to staying out until about 2 a.m., but not being affected by game time. “Can you say, ‘Was it a distraction?’ I don’t know, maybe. But we lost the game to a good [Slovenia] team, a team that we could have beat, and that makes it even more hard and tough. But the story made it bigger than it was.”