The NHL lockout continues to disappoint hockey fans around the world America. Talks between the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) and the owners of the teams continue to progress at a snail’s pace and both parties are jeopardizing the prospect of a full 82 game season, or even a shortened season. Last week the NHL proposed a deal to the players ensuring a 50-50 split of the Hockey Related Revenue (HRR). It was the first bit of progress we’ve seen since the lockout began September 15, 2012. Fans, players, and owners were all seemingly blowing away the winds of change and the clouds of a lockout. Things were starting to brighten up.
But all of that may be passing us by, like a cool gentle fall breeze.
The owners and players are back at it once again, struggling to even come up with an agreeable time to meet. A glimpse of sunshine on the darkest of days feels incredible and everlasting until it, well… doesn’t last for more than a week.
In times of such turmoil, what’s a hockey fan to do?
Being the optimist I am, we at least have international leagues (that seem to know how to run a league and keep fans, owners, and players happy). Several stars from the Philadelphia Flyers have started playing games across seas as the international hockey market continues to prosper without the greed from its American counterpart.
In my homeland of Deutschland (Germany), Danny Briere and lovable superstar Claude Giroux have been superb with Eisbaren Berlin (Berlin Polar Bears) from the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL).
In their debut game on October 12, Briere and Giroux each notched three points. Briere picked up three assists and Giroux picked up two and a game tying goal in the third period. Click here for a great recap of the game and Giroux’s first goal (in German).
Two days later Briere recorded a hat trick and one assist, to secure MVP, along with some help from Giroux.
On October 19, Giroux and Briere found more success and set each other up perfectly in the second period on their way to a 5-1 smashing against Augsburg.
Two days later they were outplayed by Isorlohn in the first two periods despite a 0-0 tie. In the third period Claude Giroux opened up the scoring on their way to a 7-1 win. Giroux, who was mic’d for the game gets the crowd pumped by putting the game’s first point on the board. The clip also shows an assist as well as what will surely be popular, a lovable Giroux having some fun on the ice before warm ups. Most notably – singing Gangnam Style. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what that was either, but apparently a few people enjoy it.
Briere has eleven points and Giroux has ten in four games with Eisbaren Berlin.
Wayne Simmonds finished his 30 day contract in Germany playing for Crimmitschau and is now looking to sign a contract with Liberec in the Czech Republic.
In Russia, Ilya Bryzgalov continues to struggle and even managed to trip on the ice he supposedly is defending for CSKA. He has won only one game out of his first four starts even with a collection of NHL stars leading the offensive in Alexander Radulov from Nashville, Pavel Datsyuk of Detroit and Mikhail Grabovski from Toronto. Bryzgalov is off to a rough start after what appeared to be an “aligning of the cosmos” with his spectacular play in March for the Flyers.
Jakub Voracek has been sidelined from his HC Lev Praha team because of a knee injury sustained on October 6. He is expected to practice this week.
Ruslan Fedotenko only has four points in 13 games with HC Donbass despite having accumulated most ice time per game (18:36).
In Sweden, Matt Read has had continued success without losing a beat overseas. Playing for Sodertalje SK he has recorded two goals and eight assists in five games, tied for the lead. Read is also playing alongside New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin.
Nicklas Grossmann was supposed to join Read but is having difficulties with the league to cover his insurance costs which are at a premium since coming off knee surgery this off-season.
In merry England, Tom Sestito is carrying on his reputation as a tough guy with the Sheffield Steelers, having sent a lad to the hospital following this hit. He was originally given a match penalty and three-day suspension but that has since been revoked upon further review. Sestito did not hit the player’s head but due to his large size, basically pancaked him into the boards creating some whiplash on the glass and ice which resulted in a concussion.
It’s exciting to hear some hockey related news with some of our Flyers folks but disheartening to not be able to see it all and be a part of the magic that is Flyer’s hockey.