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NHL players have a strange way of showing solidarity
As we get closer to the one month anniversary of the NHL lockout, a lot of NHL players are still getting ready for a hockey season. No they aren't suiting up with a minor league team to stay in shape. Many (almost 200 till date) will be suiting up and playing pro-hockey in Europe. Not only that, many of them are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars and even more if they are playing in Russia. Even as the majority of these players are of European descent, several North American players like Joe Thornton of the Bruins, Alex Tanguay of the Avalanche, Daniel Briere of the Sabres, Steve Reinprecht of the Flames and Jeff Halpern of the Capitals are also going to be making a living playing hockey in Europe.
These players have special contracts with European teams that would allow them to return to the NHL if and when the league and players association are able to put their differences aside and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. One has to wonder though what this says about today's NHL player. While a majority of the players are not playing due to the lockout and in turn not earning any income - about 25% of the NHL players do not really support their fellow brethren and are more than happy to play for the next highest bidder.
Not to mention, these NHL players are taking away jobs from journeymen hockey players who had long made a decent living in Europe. These players moved to Europe after toiling in the North American minor and pro hockey leagues and have certainly paid their dues. Now they find NHL players who probably put them out of a potential job in North America, encroach into Europe to do the same again.
Atlanta Thrashers LW Dany Heatley became the latest NHL player to sign with a European team. Heatley who still faces legal problems in Georgia, has signed with Bern in Switzerland.