CHICAGO -- As the NHL lockout continues into its second week more players have continued the exodus overseas, but Chicago Blackhawks have been slow to sign elsewhere. Only Michael Frolik has inked a deal (Chomutov of the Czech Extraliga League) while players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Viktor Stalberg and Duncan Keith are in no rush to sign with a European or Russian team.
“It’s something we’re entertaining but we don’t have a specific timeline yet,” Keith’s agent Ross Gurney said on Monday.
Toews and Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, said as much Monday as well. And the players told reporters they’ll consider options next month or beyond. According to some agents, their players want to be sure the lockout is going to be a prolonged one before they commit to a foreign country but others have already left and are playing overseas. Frolik is scheduled to play his first game this week.
Stalberg’s agent, Wade Arnott, said nothing was imminent regarding his client but that could change at any time. Some have indicated that once the NHL starts cancelling regular-season games the severity of the situation will hit home and more and more players will be finding work elsewhere. Expect a number of Blackhawks to do just that.
So far the Hawks’ first four preseason games have been canceled with the remaining two on the brink of being eliminated. The NHL could start to postpone regular-season games by the end of the week or early into October. The Hawks’ season opener is scheduled for Oct. 13.