With the NHL in lockout mode, we’ve already seen plenty of players find temporary employment opportunities in a variety of European leagues, but the fact remains with the NHL shutdown, there are less professional hockey jobs to go around.
Every time an NHLer signs with a European club, someone else that might have played with that team during a non-lockout season is potential hurt.
For example, Domenic Pittis was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 1993, but he wasn’t able to earn a permanent spot on an NHL roster. Instead he’s made a career out of playing in the Swiss-A league but, as the Calgary Herald points out, he’s a free agent as European squads weigh their options or pursue NHL talent in light of the lockout.
The reality of the situation led Ducks forward Bobby Ryan to say that he wouldn’t play in Europe because he’s “not going to take somebody else’s job overseas.” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner has been hesitant to sign with a European squad for the same reason.
Still, Pittis isn’t bitter over the situation.
“I know some guys are upset about it, but it’s an open market, right?” Pittis told the Herald. “And it’s kind of what you’ve been facing your whole life as a hockey player — ‘If there’s somebody better . . .’ So I don’t really hold it against those guys at all. I’m trying to play somewhere, trying to get some ice — and they’re hockey players, too, trying to do the same thing.
“Not knowing how long it’s going to go on . . . I am a little bit anxious. Sitting around and waiting is the toughest part. Definitely more stress.”