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09-17-2004, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by HF2002
The only reason I can think that this reasoning may be somewhat legitimate is that nearly every player who's going to play in Europe is reportedly to have arranged a Jan 1st escape clause on their contracts (as per a sports radio station in Ottawa).
The players who are playing in Europe are doing so under one of two contracts. Those who have NHL deals signed can have an escape clause that allows them to return at any time. Those who are without an NHL deal can't return this season if the lockout is lifted. In other words, Thornton will be back whether an agreement is reached on October 1st or December 1st. Kovalev will not be back next season if he plays any games in Europe.

I think the players do expect there will be no hockey until January. Before that point, the owner's have most of the leverage. The games in the first half of the season are the hardest ones to sell. The playoffs involve the easiest games to sell and since the players don't get paid are the most profitable games by far.

In other words, the players expect the owners to cave by January if they plan to cave this year. The players don't plan to cave ever.


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