Philly Sports Live

NHL Lockout Begins as European Players Return Home

Since this whole initial thing has started catching on in the NFL, maybe we could try it in hockey. We might as well call Gary Bettman GBIII, because on Sunday at 12:00 A.M., the third lockout of his tenure as NHL commissioner began. As with most labor disputes, there is little optimism among fans and players. The most important issue between the two sides while negotiating the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is slicing the pie of Hockey Related Revenue.

As it stood in the former CBA, players received 57%, and the owners received 43%. During the labor negotiations in 2005, the players got a 24% pay cut, and Flyers players such as Kimmo Timonen and Danny Briere hinted that they wouldn’t take a 10% cut this time around, which is what Gary Bettman and the owners are asking them to do.

Due to the fact that the season is in jeopardy and that Hockey is not exclusively popular in North America, players have the option to sign with European clubs, namely the KHL. Other players decided to go to the Czech Republic, or other European countries. Here’s a list of prominent players (Credit: ESPN):

Jaromir Jagr (DAL): Czech Republic (Kladno); Nail Yakupov (ED): Russia/KHL (Neftekhimik); Rick Nash (NYR): Switzerland (HC Davos); Ilya Kovalchuk (NYJ): Russia/KHL (SKA St. Petersburg); Evgeni Malkin (PIT): KHL/Russia (Metallurg); Sergei Gonchar (OTT): KHL/Russia (Metallurg); Joe Thorton (SJ): Switzerland (HC Davos)
It was also rumored that Washington’s Alex Ovechkin signed with Dynamo Moscow, but nothing has been officially announced yet.

Although owners, coaches, and all team staff are not allowed any contact with players, that doesn’t stop the players from practicing. Several players, including Matt Read, Danny Briere, and Ilya Bryzgalov have rented the Flyers skate zone ice (The very ice they practice on) for the past few days to practice and work out on.

Players are hopeful that a deal can get done soon, but only time can tell if they season will be in jeopardy or not.