With a lockout an almost certainty for the upcoming season, many NHL players have begun looking for another team to play for this fall. Younger players such as rookies or players not subject to waivers will go to another North American league, the American Hockey League (AHL).
The AHL has young prospects from all the NHL teams mixed with some exclusive AHL players. Veteran players in the NHL born overseas will likely head back to a league in Europe or Russia. Washington Capitals superstar, Alex Ovechkin has his sights on the top Russian league, the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Washington’s best player has been practicing with his teammates and other players in the Capitals organization at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in preparation for the upcoming season. Some participants in the informal workouts include John Erskine, Matt Hendricks, Mike Green, John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Michal Neuvirth and Stanislav Gailev.
The biggest news of the day came from the Capitals’ captain on his plans if a lockout becomes official on September 15th. He told Chuck Gormley of Comcast Sportsnet Washington he would play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) if the NHL locks out the players. “We’ll see what’s going to happen. No one wants to be in a lockout but if [there is] I’m going to play in the KHL. It’s not a surprise. I will go.”
This should not surprising news to Capitals fans like Ovechkin stated, as the KHL is the only reasonable place for Ovechkin to play during the lockout. A few of Washington’s players will head to the Capitals AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, most likely young prospects like Braden Holtby and Dmitry Orlov.
The question is where will the remaining players on the Capitals roster without two way contracts play?
Some may go to a European or Russian league while others could continue to work out in North American preparing for a late start at another rink, not named Kettler IcePlex or Verizon Center.
There isn’t much of a chance that the season will start on time, but the players are maintaining a glimmer of hope.