The No Hockey League

Formerly published in The Other Press. Oct. 16 2012

NHL players keep busy during lockout
By Elliot Chan, Contributor

There was a moment in early September when the sun was shining, the school year was full of optimism, and hockey was the furthest thing from my mind. Now, as the days are getting shorter and the NHL lockout continues on, the absence of hockey can no longer be ignored. Desperate to find my fix, I resorted to the Internet and found a sketchy website *shiver in shameful disgust* streaming European hoc

Photo by AP Photo/Petr David Josek.

key. Over a hundred NHL players have crossed the frozen pond, abandoned the Players’ Association, and found themselves dressed as billboards with skates.

At a glance, it seems as though the European leagues are the main benefactors of the lockout. After all, they did fetch such top players as Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux, Rick Nash, Jamie Benn, and most recently Tyler Seguin. But delving deeper and looking at some stats, it is strange seeing so few recognizable players on the top of the scoring list. It seems as though NHL players are taking a paid vacation overseas and occasionally fitting some hockey games into their schedule. Some consider the motive to play abroad as disrespectful; one of those was long time CBC sports commentator, Don Cherry, who claimed on Twitter that it is understandable for Europeans to go play in their homeland, but millionaires should not go abroad and take jobs from players trying to make a living.

Not all players jumped the fence. Those that stayed found comfort on Twitter. Pictures and tweets began surfacing of players exploring new hobbies and vocations. Others simply showcased their neglected hockey gear. It’s clear that some players are dealing with the lockout better than others, but nobody wants the season to commence more than Pittsburgh Penguin’s captain, Sidney Crosby. After suffering a concussion injury in 2010, Crosby has missed 101 regular season games. Considered the best player in the league at the time of his injury, most hockey fans anticipate him to be back in full form. Needless to say, the lockout is just another unlucky addition to Crosby’s fortunate career. Because of that very reason, many expect Crosby to really mull over the decision to play overseas, despite polar opinions from management and fans. Should the resolution of the lockout eat away the 2012-2013 season, expect to see more great players taking roles on foreign teams.

As days fall off the calendar and negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement continues, the season opener has been pushed back to October 25, best-case scenario. Worst-case scenario is that I might have time to spend with my family, to finish my homework, and to pick up extra shifts at work. Yikes!

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