With no apparent end in sight to the labor lockout that is getting close to cancelling regular season games, the exodus of players to European leagues continues. For one player though, the lockout of the greatest league in the world doesn’t have him clamoring for the big leagues in another market. After playing for several years in Washington – this off season was a long one for Alexander Semin, all things considered. Figuring on cashing in as a UFA – not many teams were willing to take a risk on a potential flight risk to the KHL and a player with a mantra of being lazy. It almost seemed destined for his days to be numbered in the NHL prior to the NHL numbering its own days. The Carolina Hurricanes stepped up outside of the box and landed the Russian in the hopes of turning around an abysmal season. The true lights of Semin’s play might be in the fact that he has signed a deal to play in the KHL’s version of the AHL, the Russian Major Hockey League. Under the guise of wanting to play near his hometown once again – his statement rings strong – “It’s not where I am playing, its how long I could be there.” Given the way his off season went, this sounds like it could be a permanent defection back home, even if the NHL were to resume operations for the 2012-2013 season. Semin will make approximately $1600 US Dollars playing in the Russian Minor League.
While everyone’s eyes have been on the woes of the Pheonix Coyotes/City of Glendale/NHL ownership/Shane Doan Saga – the talks of the Oilers moving out of Edmonton have people in fears that some of the NHLs youngest talents won’t be playing in Edmonton in the near future. If a deal can’t get into place before the end of the lease with the Rexall Place, the Oilers could be moving a very proud tradition south of the border.
It seems like money problems are an issue for the NHLPA for more than just CBA negotiations. Rumor has it that the family of former New York Ranger and NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard is suing the players union for around 10 million dollars – the amount of salary left on the enforcers contract when he died last year, and additional damages. The NHLPA has responded that they have not seen the lawsuit nor have they been officially served – nor do they think there is any merit to the claim holding the NHLPA responsible – but they denied further comment claiming it be inappropriate to comment at this time. Sounds like this one is going to be dragged out through the courts – and if paid out will probably be nothing more than an insurance claim for the NHLPA – but could add to the intensity of them wanting to protect the players salaries even further as they head into weekend talks with the National Hockey League on resolving current collective bargaining issues.
There may not be hockey being played at the NHL level right now, but it sure is getting interesting for some markets. CBA talks are scheduled to resume on Friday – with some economic issues on the table, but not the major divide issues. It is a start to getting the sides to constant negotiations, as we are nearing the point in the schedule where games will be lost.