NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman takes part in a news conference in New York… (Mary Altaffer / Associated…)
It was no surprise at all.
The NHL announced on Wednesday that the preseason schedule, through Sept. 30, had been canceled. This was Day 4 of the NHL-imposed lockout, and the league and the players association have not had an official negotiating session in a week.
Four exhibition games for the Kings, and three for the Ducks, were eliminated. The Stanley Cup champion Kings had been scheduled to play Colorado in Las Vegas on Sept. 29, which was to have been the latest installment of “Frozen Fury.”
Against this labor backdrop, player departures to Europe continued, fast and furiously.
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin signed with Dynamo Moscow and told a Russian news agency that he would think about staying in the KHL if NHL salaries were slashed.
Of local note, Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa has signed with HC Lugano in the Swiss National League for the duration of the lockout. The 22-year-old started his hockey career with EV Zug in Switzerland.
Swiss native and Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, despite some reports, has not reached any such agreement with any European team.
His agent, Allain Roy, told The Times that Hiller would wait and see what would happen in the next 30 days.
“I don’t think he’s ready to jump on anything – that seems to be the approach with a lot of guys,” Roy said.
Others aren’t contemplating making the jump at all. Kings center Mike Richards said, via text message, that he planned on staying home, hoping there would be a settlement at some point this season.
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