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Despite CBA optimism, Gagner still headed overseas

Edmonton Oilers v Philadelphia Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 08: Sam Gagner #89 of the Edmonton Oilers skates with the puck during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 8, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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Sam Gagner is still going to Austria. The Oilers’ forward tells the Edmonton Sun that, despite the NHL’s latest offer that’s injected some optimism into the CBA negotiations, he expects to suit up for Klagenfurter AC soon.

He could use the game action.

“I’ve been looking at a couple of different leagues for the last little bit and it just got to the point where I felt like I wanted to play games and be ready if there was a conclusion to the lockout,” says Gagner. “I felt like this was a good opportunity for me. The Austrian deal came about pretty quickly, Tyler Myers signed a couple of days earlier and I’ve kind of been in touch with him and in touch for people in Klagenfurt.

“It’s a great opportunity to go and play some games. It’s a great league with great fans and I’m excited about it.”

If the lockout does indeed end before the NHL season is lost, players that have joined or been assigned to other leagues could have an advantage over those who’ve chosen to wait it out.

The NHL has no plans to play preseason games should the season start Nov. 2. Just a week of training camp to shake off the rust.

When the NBA’s lockout ended in December, each team played two preseason games before the season tipped off Christmas Day.