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NHL Roundup: Talks Go Nowhere, Crosby’s Optimistic, Players Head to Russia

With Thursday initially set to represent the opening day of the NHL season, instead the league and union held talks for four hours but nothing moved forward.

As for a Day 3 of talks, nothing has been scheduled for either Friday or in the future.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on Thursday, “Until we’re tackling the major issues, I’m not sure what the urgency is to meet on a 24/7 basis.”

So what issues were discussed on Thursday? Free agency and drug testing.

There is some optimism for these topics and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said via AP, “I think we’re making progress in a number of the areas that were discussed, which include health and safety, drug testing issues, medical care. They were good discussions. It’s a shame that they are going on in the midst of a lockout when we could be doing it while we’re playing, or we could’ve been doing it a month ago or two months ago.”

One question you have to ask, is what are the players likely to do as the lockout continues? With neither side moving ahead, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr thinks they may try to create an offer without a salary cap. Unfortunately, this doomed the 2004-05 season.

And without further discussions, additional games will be cancelled. This comes after the league temporarily cancelled 82 games, set to begin on Thursday up until Oct. 24.

From cancelling all of the preseason, the NHL will incur $100 million in losses with an additional $140 million to $150 million of losses from the regular season.

Sidney Crosby is Optimistic

Penguins Sidney Crosby

Meanwhile, one NHL player who remains optimistic for a season is Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby. While he was anxious for the season to begin on Thursday, he still thinks a season will happen but it’s a waiting game at this point.

Crosby said via ESPN, “It’s still early. There’s still time for decisions to be made and time to make sure nobody does something they’re going to regret.”

For the cancelled 2004-2005 season, he was a junior player but he doesn’t feel pessimistic like he did back then; he did acknowledge the two sides are currently far apart.

Crosby added, “I think we’re willing to make a deal. I don’t think there’s a deal to be made right now. There’s their deal and then there’s our deal and they want their deal.”

The player plans to keep working out and will be good to go when a season does begin but his teammate and NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin has other plans: he’s playing in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Crosby noted that Malkin looks “ready to go” after watching some of his recent game video and the bettors agree, giving the player  1/2 to average over one point per game in the 2012-2013 KHL season.

Rangers Ryan McDonagh

But Malkin isn’t the only NHL player headed to Russia. This week, it was confirmed by his agent that New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh will play for the KHL’s Barys Astana team, reported ESPN.

The player is expected to hit the ice for his first game on Saturday.

Since the lockout, there’s been 33 NHL players who have joined the KHL. The majority of them are either Russians or of Eastern European  descent. For many, they’re just returning to play for their hometown teams.

McDonagh is the first American to ink a deal with the KHL but the third Ranger to keep playing while there’s a lockout. His teammate Rick Nash is a member of Switzerland’s Davos and Swede Carl Hagelin went back home to play for Sodertalje, which the bettors gave him 3 to 2 odds to do so.

Also potentially returning home is McDonagh’s teammate, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist; he has expressed interest in signing with his former team, Frolunda, but he is yet to make any type of commitment to do so.



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