Several locked out NHL players headed to Europe

Players looking elsewhere for opportunities to continue playing hockey

While the NHL arena doors may be shut in North America, the doors in Europe’s hockey rinks remain open.

When the league locked out their players at midnight last Saturday, some immediately signed up to join the KHL and other European leagues.

Washington Capitals Evgeni Malkin and Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk have agreed to play in the KHL while Jaromir Jagr will be suiting up in the Czech Republic.

Malkin will play for his hometown’s hockey club, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and will be joined by Ottawa Senators defenceman Sergei Gonchar.

Canadians, such as Rick Nash and Joe Thornton, have also decided to play inEurope. They are both heading to the HC Davos of the Swiss League and will play there as early as this weekend.

The KHL has set guidelines for NHL players during the lockout. Each of the 20 teams in the league is only allowed to sign a maximum of three players. One must be reserved for a foreign-born player who has competed in at least 150 NHL games, played for his national team recently or has won the Stanley Cup or a major award.

There are also financial guidelines as well. The NHLers who will play for the Russian teams must only be paid 65 per cent or less from what they would normally make in North America.

The NHLPA and NHL started meetings in New York and Toronto in August in hopes to reach a new deal before the current one expired.

As of now, the players and owners are nowhere near an agreement.

The initial proposal from the NHL was to cut players’ revenue share from 57 to 47 per cent with a proposed six-year deal.

This is the third lockout the NHL has had 18 years.

During the 1994-95 season the players competed with a 48-game schedule after coming to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, while the 2004-05 campaign was complete wiped.

Talks between the two sides aren’t expected to resume until at least Wednesday.