The NHL season is scheduled to kick off on the 11th of October, but it is in serious jeopardy due to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expiring and the parties are, according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, far apart from each other.
Since the playoffs, many journalists, insiders and players have speculated that the earliest they can see the season starting is December and it is looking like the October start time for the league is some way off.
Given that the previous lock-out saw an entire season cancelled, it sent a lot of players to Europe to play and looks like a lot of teams are making plans to get players to return to Europe, should the lockout take place.
HC Davos in Switzerland has already announced that it has agreed that San Jose Sharks centre man Joe Thornton and new New York Ranger Rick Nash would ice for the team. Both played in Davos for the whole year during the last lockout.
Frolunda in Sweden has, according to a couple of tweets, tabbed up Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Loui Erikkson of the Dallas Stars to play for the team should the lockout take place. All the players are products of the Frolunda system.
The Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne, apparently has said that he would “not rule out playing for Jokerit.” Selanne who turned 42 this summer, signed a years’ extension with the Ducks in what he has hinted would be his last season in the NHL. For the other NHL Finns, there haven’t been any firm news of player movements, but sports outlet Veikkaaja polled 15 Finnish NHL players (poll was done anonymously) and only one said that he would play in the Finnish SM-Liiga.
From my perspective, where it would be great to see NHL players playing Europe, I would rather see a full season of NHL hockey. Should the lockout take place, it would be the third lockout during my lifetime, which cannot be good advertisement to the way the league and the sport operates.
I sincerely hope that the owners, the NHL and the NHLPA can reach an agreement so that we have a full 82 game season.