NHL Lockout, Day 4: Players Eye Charity Games Between Montreal, Quebec City Natives
Flyers C Max Talbot and D Bruno Gervais have devised a plan “to hold a series of charity games pitting a team of players from Montreal against a squad mostly made up of Quebec City natives" during the lockout, according to Sean Gordon of the GLOBE & MAIL. The games would be a "soft revival" of the Canadiens-Nordiques rivalry. The first game “could take place as early as next week.” Talbot said, “It’s not a league exactly. We just sat down this summer, and started talking about what we would do if the season is delayed and this is what we came up with: Some games involving NHL players who are around the region and maybe build it up slowly from there.” He added that the games “would be non-contact” and any gate receipts “would be donated to charity.” Gordon reports about 40 players "have been approached” so far. That includes Penguins C Sidney Crosby, who played his junior hockey in Rimouski. Talbot and Gervais have set tomorrow “as a deadline for players to answer.” Several are “waiting for news from European or Russian teams before deciding.” Gervais said that he and Talbot have “tentatively booked an arena and a skate sharpener for Sept. 27 -- he won’t say which one just yet -- and if that game goes off, they would be prepared to do a barnstorming tour of the province” (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/19). In Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch notes Senators D Chris Phillips "may consider doing something similar" with the Maple Leafs. Given the "proximity of Ottawa and Toronto to Montreal and Quebec City, the effort being organized by Talbot and Gervais could certainly be expanded." The idea is to "play mostly in small arenas with a capacity of more than 2,000 seats." Money would "be split between charities in the area and minor hockey" (OTTAWA SUN, 9/19).
NOTHING BREWING IN N.Y.: In N.Y., Mark Everson notes the NHLPA has a "golden ... chance to showcase its constituency, make some money, give the public the hockey it will otherwise miss and make a statement in the court of public opinion" by holding charity games in the N.Y. area. So far, though, sources said that the union "has not approached either the Meadowlands’ arena, nor the soon-to-open Barclays Center in Brooklyn." A source said that the NHLPA "is concentrating on getting a deal done with the NHL, and that setting up games seems premature now" (N.Y. POST, 9/19).
MORE PLAYERS ON THE MOVE: USA TODAY's Kevin Allen notes as of last night, 12 NHLers "had agreed to play in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League," while five players "were headed to the Swiss League, two to the Czech Republic and one each to Germany and Sweden." All contracts "allow players to return when the lockout ends" (USA TODAY, 9/19). In St. Paul, Ben Goessling notes Wild G Niklas Backstrom "became the first Wild player to move toward playing in Europe," reportedly agreeing to play ing the KHL. Meanwhile, Wild C Zach Parise said that he has "only 'very loosely' considered the possibility of going to Europe" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/19). SI.com's Stu Hackel wrote the "longer this CBA stalemate goes on, the more those who remain here will consider going over" (SI.com, 9/18). Sharks LW Ryan Clowe said players get serious about looking into playing overseas “after a month or so when it looks like this could be dragged on.” However, most guys "don’t think it will be that long.” Clowe: “I’m not in a rush right now to go anywhere” (“Chronicle Live,” Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 9/18).