Capitals forward Brooks Laich said before the NHL lockout began that he would look to play elsewhere in the event of a work stoppage and he will soon have a deal in place to do so.
Swiss newspaper Blick reported that Laich agreed to join the National League A’s Kloten Flyers, but it’s unclear if that is the team he will sign with. Laich’s agent, Roland Thompson, said the Saskatchewan native is exploring his options in the NLA and that a contract has not yet been finalized but one should be completed by the end of the week.
Laich left for Switzerland on Monday night, according to Thompson, who added that his client simply wants to play hockey.
“They want to play, they want to be ready when the season starts,” Thompson said in a phone interview. “To sit around, it drives them crazy. It’s not about the money or anything like that. He’s just trying to stay in shape and to play the game that he loves.
“He’s trained all summer, he’s committed to being ready,” Thompson added. “Having to go through this drudgery of going to the rink with just two, three guys to prepare for something that may not happen is tough. He wants to go to practice every day with a purpose.”
Laich, 29, who has five years and $20.5 million remaining on his contract with Washington, will be the third Capitals player to sign with a European team since the NHL lockout began on Sept. 16. Alex Ovechkin and Michal Neuvirth have already joined the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow and HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga, respectively.
“I grew up loving the game of hockey, not loving the NHL,” Laich said prior to the start of the lockout. “All players, we want to play hockey. The beauty of the game today is it’s a global game and there’s other opportunities.”