Quebec Stars to Play During Lockout? Plus Blues News
There may be NHL hockey this fall after all…at least in Quebec.
Sources confirm several high profile French Canadian NHL players and agents are considering forming two teams to play games while NHL players and owners battle it out at the bargaining table.
Some of these players includes stars Daniel Briere, Claude Giroux, Patrice Bergeron, David Perron, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
The initial idea is to have two teams, one representing Montreal and the other representing Quebec City, to travel throughout Quebec playing at least one game per week. There's talk of all the proceeds going to charity.
The idea of adding other Canadian markets such as Ottawa and Toronto has also been tossed around.
Over the next two or three weeks you will hear of more NHL players signing contracts to play over in Europe. Jussi Jokinen (Car) and D-man Jason Demers (San) recently inked contracts to play in the Finnish Elite League.
Others such as Valtteri Filppula and Teemu Selanne could join Jokerit in the Finnish league sometime in the near future.
Many Blues fans are interested in where former first rounder Vladimir Tarasenko will play during the lockout. He obviously has the option of playing in the AHL or returning to Russia to play in the KHL. SKA Saint Petersburg currently has
Tarasenko’s KHL rights but as of the weekend he had not signed a contract. The only contract he’s currently signed is his NHL deal with the Blues. If he chooses to return to the KHL he’d be signing as a lockout player. There is an assignment clause in his NHL deal that allows him to be assigned to the KHL should he not make the Blues roster or chose to return in the event of a lockout.
Sources say SKA officials have turned up the heat in trying to convince Tarasenko to sign. He could make a lucrative pro-rated contract that would pay him in the range of $200,000 per month. Slightly more than the $67,000 salary he could earn playing in the AHL. Playing in Peoria is about more than just the money, especially from the Blues point of view. It would be the introduction he needs to the North American culture as well as the style of play he’ll see in the NHL at some point this season.
At the end of the day it’s his decision and many believe he’s already made it. I’m told the Blues would at least like to see him stay until November. Tarasenko has asked SKA to trade his rights to his hometown club Novosibirsk but that doesn’t appear likely.
Slowly but surely you will hear of several NHL players signing in Europe. It makes sense for many European players such as Patrik Berglund who I’m told will likely sign with his hometown team in Vasteras, Sweden. The Swedish Elite League does not take NHL players under contract but the second division does. Vasteras plays in the second division.
Alex Steen is also a candidate to play over in Europe, he skated several weeks this summer with Modo of the SEL joining the likes of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Erik Karlsson, and Peter Forsberg.
Roman Polak could sign with his hometown team in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
One would assume Goaltender Jaroslav Halak would have the option of playing with HC Slovan Bratislava, a newly-joined KHL club in his hometown of Bratislava, Slovakia.
Matt D’Agostini will likely consider signing overseas sometime over the next few weeks.
David Perron is considering his options and is probably 50/50 at this point. Obviously all of these players must consider the risk of injury and that certainly plays a factor here. The Swiss league is an option for Perron to consider.
Captain David Backes has no plans of playing overseas as it sits today, the same can be said for Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo.
Neither Shattenkirk or Pietrangelo were asked to play in the AHL even though we saw several quality entry level players elsewhere assigned to their minor league clubs. Obviously the possibility of injury to a defense lacking depth is too large of a risk to take.
Veteran players such as Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Nichol will be staying put in St. Louis during the lockout.
Congrats to Jamie Rivers who today was officially named head Coach of the St. Charles Chill. The Chill begin play next season at the St. Charles Family arena. Rivers will be running practices with locked out NHL players for the foreseeable future. Coaching the Chill will be a great opportunity for one of the good guys involved in the St. Louis hockey community.
More to come,
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