LOS ANGELES — It was no surprise at all.
The NHL announced Wednesday that the preseason schedule through Sept. 30 had been canceled. This was Day 4 of the NHL-imposed lockout, and the league and the players’ association have not had an official negotiating session in a week.
Four exhibitions for the Los Angeles Kings, and three for the Anaheim Ducks, were eliminated. The Stanley Cup champion Kings had been scheduled to play Colorado in Las Vegas on Sept. 29, which was to have been the latest installment of “Frozen Fury.”
Against this labor backdrop, player departures to Europe continued, fast and furiously.
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin signed with Dynamo Moscow and told a Russian news agency that he would think about staying in the KHL if NHL salaries were slashed.
Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa signed with HC Lugano in the Swiss National League for the duration of the lockout. The 22-year-old started his hockey career with EV Zug in Switzerland. Swiss native and Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, despite some reports, has not reached any such agreement with a European team.
His agent, Allain Roy, told the Los Angeles Times that Hiller would wait and see what happens in the next 30 days.
“I don’t think he’s ready to jump on anything – that seems to be the approach with a lot of guys,” Roy said.
Kings forward Andrei Loktionov is headed to Russia, agreeing to play for Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL. Others aren’t contemplating making the jump. Kings center Mike Richards said via text message that he is staying home, hoping there will be a settlement at some point this season.