We knew this was going to happen. A lockout was with no foreseeable ending would mean a lot of the NHL’s talent would be moving on to other leagues. We know that a lot of talented young players will probably head back to the AHL or the OHL. A lot of the top talent however, will very likely look to the leagues in Europe as a way to keep their edge and to earn a paycheck.
Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference played in the Czech Republic during the 2004-05 lockout. From what he said on Friday, I wonder if he’ll be heading back there again. To stay competitive and in shape for the *groan* 2013-2014 season he and other Bruins will likely need to play somewhere else. Ference explained his thinking about setting up a plan ‘B’.
“I have to. When I look back at last time, I feel like the guys who didn’t play and didn’t keep sharp definitely lost a step. I think everybody’s still eyeballing this thing as optimistically as possible and still preparing to play and hopefully the sooner the better. But if it starts stretching out, you can practice for only so long. You want to get into some games and play and stay competitive and keep working on your game. It’s hard to do when you’re just scrimmaging and practicing.”
While Ference has noted that he has a plan ready to go, he hasn’t packed his bags just yet.
“I’m a glass half full guy and I’m always somewhat optimistic that their side takes into account the value of the trajectory of the game and the value lost. We’re not football. I hope they’re not counting on standing on their position for so long,” said Ference. “But we’ll see how it goes for the next couple of weeks with meetings and negotiations and see what kind of traction there is. But when you start to get into when we should be playing, that’s kind of (the tipping point). Some guys are leaving right away, but I think I’ll give it a couple of weeks before I jump on a plane.”
Some players have already packed their bags and sprinted to the airport. Boston Bruins back up goalie Anton Khudobin announced that he will be spending the season in Russia. David Krecji is contemplating a similar move to the Czech Republic. Dennis Seidenberg could go play in Germany with his brother. I know these men have lives and take the careers seriously. It just makes the possibility of this being a season killer all the more real.