Sunday, July 11, 2004

Russian to tend to the nets?

Will Jose Theodore have to break out the Russian/French/English dictionary for next year? If the latest from RDS in Quebec is true it may be the next big migration.

Russian elite teams have made some inquiries about the Habs goaltenders plans should the NHL scrap the 2004-05 season. One team going so far as to offer him 3 million dollars US for a year of work, with the escape provision in place should the NHL and NHLPA agree to terms while he’s on his working vacation.

For Theodore the work load wouldn’t be as onerous as an NHL season as well, Russian teams have a much shorter season than the NHL squads and spend a fair amount of time in practice and conditioning sessions.

Theodore is the second prominent signing rumour floated this week, Joe Thornton of the Bruins has reportedly signed a deal with Davos of the Swiss league should there be no hockey in North America this year. He and Theodore could just be the tip of the wave of NHLers taking advantage of the acrimonious relationship in the North American pro league.

For NHL refugees the European option offers up a chance to keep a paycheque, enjoy some travel, work at a more leisurely pace and keep their skills sharp. The real test will be if they want to come back should the current contract crisis finally be solved.

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