This weekend was supposed to mark the start of the Adam Oates era in Washington. Players would have reported for physicals Friday and were scheduled to be on the ice for their first official training camp workouts Saturday.
But this weekend, there will be no talk of the first-time coach’s systems and strategies, if Alex Ovechkin will return to form in a more offensive style of play, whether Braden Holtby can continue his momentum from last year’s playoff run, whom Mike Ribeiro will play with regularly, how John Carlson and Karl Alzner continue to develop or any other storyline relating to the 2012-13 season. All that matters now is how long the NHL lockout will last.
There have been no formal negotiations between the two sides during the first six days of the lockout and none are currently scheduled. With no talks, nothing changes other than the number of NHLers who have signed contracts to play in Europe and how many games (preseason or otherwise) the league has canceled.
A few items of note:
— Sweden’s Competition Authority ruled Friday that the Swedish Elite League, Elitserien, could not ban NHL players from signing with its teams giving the players another league in which they can ply their craft during the lockout.
While Elitserien is attempting to appeal the ruling, several reports of teams already in negotiations with prominent Swedish NHL players have already surfaced.
According to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Nicklas Backstrom’s hometown team, Brynäs IF, is hoping to sign the Capitals’ top center, as well as Marcus Johansson. Marc Levine, who represents both Backstrom and Johansson, wrote in an email Friday that there was nothing to report regarding European contracts for either player.
Alex Ovechkin, who joined KHL’s Moscow Dynamo, and Michal Neuvirth, who joined HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga, are the only Capitals who have signed contracts to play in Europe thus far.
— Via the New York Times: The NHL and NHLPA might not be meeting, but league officials helped several players, including Jaromir Jagr, obtain their international transfer cards in time to play for Jagr’s HC Kladno team Wednesday night.
— From the Edmonton Journal: Why the players’ stance may not be all about the money.
— Would you watch KHL games during the lockout? They could be coming to North American broadcasts.