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SBD Global/September 18, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Locked Out NHL Players Head Overseas, Sign With KHL, DEL Teams
Published September 18, 2012
EUROPE REALITY: In Chicago, Adam Jahns noted the option players have "of playing in other leagues -- particularly in Europe -- has been the most publicized reality of the lockout." Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews confirmed at the NHLPA meetings that "he’d consider playing in Europe, and other Hawks will, as well." The longer the lockout goes, the "more likely more players will go." If players do opt to join another team, they "have to insure their contracts in case of injury." If injured, their NHL teams "can suspend them when they return without pay until they’re healthy" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/16). Penguins center Sidney Crosby acknowledged that playing in Europe "remains a possibility but said rumors that he already has spoken with a Swedish team are untrue" (TRIBLIVE.com, 9/15). In Philadelphia, Frank Seravalli noted thus far "just one North American-born player -- San Jose's Jason Demers -- has decided to take the plunge in Europe." Most players, even those "born and trained in Europe, have decided to take the temperature of these negotiations to gauge how long a lockout might last" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/17). In a separate piece, Seravalli wrote getting hurt, even "in the more docile European leagues, is a very real possibility" for players. That is why "one of the main topics" at last week's NHLPA meeting was "the importance of insuring players' current NHL contracts before heading overseas" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/16).
NOT EVERYONE IS WELCOMED: The CANADIAN PRESS' Chris Johnston reported that the KHL "has established guidelines for its teams to follow during the lockout." Each is permitted to sign a "maximum of three NHLers for a salary worth no more than 65% of what they were due to earn in North America" this season. For the 20 teams based in Russia, only one of three spots can be used on a foreigner, and that person "must have played at least 150 NHL games over the past three seasons, suited up recently for his national team or won the Stanley Cup or a major individual award" (CANADIAN PRESS, 9/17). In N.Y., Jeff Z. Klein wrote on the N.Y. Times blog Slap Shot that the Swedish Elitserien "has been the only top European league to say that it will not sign NHL players to short-term contracts." However, many believe the Elitserien would have to join other leagues in welcoming NHL players under contracts of any length, since "the Elitserien's contract with its players union does not include bans on short-term deals" (NYTIMES.com, 9/15).