With the NHL formally announcing the cancellation of 82 regular season games between October 11 and 24 due to the lockout, players around the league are jumping ship and playing overseas for other hockey leagues.
Because we have nothing better to talk about with regards to hockey, let’s take a look at the eight San Jose Sharks who are playing overseas:
- Joe Thornton – HC Davos, Swish National A League: Perhaps the most prominent member of the Sharks to play elsewhere, captain Joe Thornton took his talents to HC Davos in Sweden and is playing alongside fellow superstar Rick Nash. How is Davos taking advantage of this? By selling a plethora of Thornton and Nash hardware. Now there’s some brilliant marketing.
- Logan Couture - Geneva-Servette, Swish National A League: Like Thornton, Couture chose to play in Sweden, and even beat Thornton’s Davos team 3-0 on Saturday. “It was fun. I honestly didn’t realize how big he was until I played against him,” Couture told ESPN.com via email Monday. “Huge man with great skill. Got to talk to him after. He’s enjoying it once again!”
- Joe Pavelski - Dinamo Minsk, KHL: This news just came in this morning, when CSN California reported that the “Big Pavelski” has signed with a KHL team in Belarus. He will join Pekka Rinne of the Predators, who is the goalie for Dinamo.
- Jason Demers - Oulu Karpat, Finland: The young defenseman has been quite successful in his venture to Finland, notching a goal and two assists in four games for Oulu Karpat.
- Tommy Wingels - Kookoo, Mestis Hockey League (Finland): Wingels is also headed to Finland, and will play in the second-highest league. “It’s disappointing and frustrating,” he told CSN. “You work all summer and prepare to start playing here, and you want to play games. We play this game because we love it, because the games are the most fun and best part about it. So, it’s disappointing, but there’s an onus on you to stay and shape and be ready.”
- Michal Handzus -HC ’05 Banska Bystrica, Slovak Extraliga (Slovakia): Michal Handzus is in Slovakia to play in their top hockey league. He picked up seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points in 67 games with the Sharks last season.
- Douglas Murray - Djurgarden, Sweden: Murray is moving back to his hometown for the lockout, playing with the Djurgarden hockey team in Sweden. He had played for the same team’s junior squad during the 1996-1997 season.
- TJ Galiardi - Bietigheim Steelers, 2nd Bundesliga (Germany): Galiardi just finalized a deal to play in Germany’s second highest hockey league. He was acquired by the Sharks via trade last season, but was an infrequent contributor down the stretch run.
There are reports that Antti Niemi may sign with a team overseas, and he would be the ninth Shark to do so.
In any case, a lockout is perhaps the worst thing that could happen to the NHL, and hopefully it doesn’t drag on for too long.