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We may have beaten them for the World Cup, but when it comes to hockey, the Europeans may have the last laugh:

While hockey has screeched to a halt many of the world’s best players are skating off to Europe where clubs in Russia and Sweden are wooing them with lucrative contracts and expensive perks.

Since the lockout began two weeks ago, close to 180 National Hockey League players have joined European clubs, the International Ice Hockey Federation said on Tuesday.

The figure represents 25 percent of the NHL’s skaters.

So this season, while we in Hockeyland cool our skates, Europeans will get to watch the likes of Markus Naslund, Ilya Kovluchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thornton, Jaromir Jagr, Patrick Elias, and most of the other league superstars in exciting, action-filled hockey games.

Makes me wonder who the real winners are.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • DaninVan 09.30.04, 6:41 AM

    Time to rebuild North American hockey from the ground up. No more mega million $ contracts for ANY players. They should play because they love the Game, not because they’re jetset wannabees.
    Any club that wants a franchise has to agree to a FIXED salary budget; the same for EVERY club. No under the table payola. The US’s Olympic basketball team’s experience should be an inspiration to all the guys in the minor leagues that aspire to greatness in the major league.

  • segacs 09.30.04, 2:35 PM

    Individual player salary caps are better than team ones, IMHO. Because a team salary cap is a disincentive for teams to take young talent and develop it… because then they’ll have to get rid of some of it. Individual players can still earn great salaries, but there has to be a limit to the highest salaries.

    But the players and owners aren’t talking along those lines and we’ll probably end up with some kind of roster cap, which would be a shame in my opinion.

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