Some San Jose Sharks and many NHLers arent wasting any time in looking for places to play overseas.
While the NHL remains locked out, reports have surfaced that forward Logan Couture is close to signing a contract to play with Geneva in the Swiss league, according to NHL Home Ices Josh Rimer, and captain Joe Thornton will return to HC Davos to play with the club with which he spent the lockout year of 2004-05 (per ESPN's Pierre LeBrun).
Meanwhile, defenseman Jason Demers is reportedly on his way to Finland, while forward Michal Handzus heads to Slovakia according to TheFourthPeriod.com.
CSN California's Brodie Brazil confirmed this morning that Demers will indeed be leaving the Bay Area tomorrow to play for the Finnish team Oulun Karpat.
Its not a surprise that Couture, who tied for the team lead in goals last season with 31 and was the Sharks only All-Star, is on the move.
Last Thursday, Couture told CSNCalifornia.com he was already considering going to Europe. Yeah, I think so, if the lockout is a long time. Everyone wants to play. Wed have to look at other options if it goes for awhile, he said.
Thornton, too, said that he would consider a return to Switzerland, where he maintains a residence.
"If I wanted to go back, Im sure theyd take me back with open arms, he said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, several notable names around the league are also booking fights abroad. Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk are on their way to the KHL in Russia, as are Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar, while Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Plekanec will play in the Czech Republic.
Expect that list to grow much, much longer as the NHL and NHLPA remain far apart in collective bargaining negotiations, although the two sides may meet again as soon as Tuesday.
The Sharks assigned 16 players to Worcester earlier on Monday, but dont have the option of sending their younger, established NHL players there as everyone expected to skate for the 2012-13 team is on a one-way contract.