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NHL players quickly finding work overseas

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NHL players quickly finding work overseas

The mass exodus of locked-out NHL players continued on Monday when 11 more players, including San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton and Rangers winger Rick Nash signed contracts with European leagues.

Dozens of other NHL players, including Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Michal Neuvirth, are expected to sign contracts this week. Neuvirth has reportedly come to an agreement with a team in the Czech League and could sign as early as Tuesday.

If so, he would be the first Capitals to sign with a team in Europe, although Ovechkin might beat him to it. Ovechkin, who turned 27 on Monday, reportedly was deciding between his former team, Dynamo Moscow, and CSKA, which is managed by former teammate Sergei Fedorov. Both are in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Former Capitals winger Alex Semin, now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, is also expected to sign with a KHL team in the coming days and there is a chance he will be reunited with Ovechkin.

As of Monday afternoon, 26 NHL players had signed contracts with leagues in Russia, Finland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Why the sudden defection of NHL players?

Its very, very simple, said player agent Mark Gandler, who represents Semin. The players are locked out. Theyre free to play anywhere in the world they want to play.

Prior to leaving for Moscow on Sept. 8, Ovechkin told reporters he would play in the KHL and went so far as to say some players would leave the NHL and never come back if they were forced to take a significant reduction in contracts that already were agreed upon. Gandler said hed be surprised to see that happen.

If they dont come back that means they will be in violation of their NHL contract after the lockout is over, he said. Its the same for every player, so I dont see that as an issue whatsoever.

The KHL has a limit of five non-Russian players per team and the Swedish Elite League has said it will only sign NHL players to full one-year contracts. Other leagues are less stringent in their signing policies, which may be why Thornton and Nash signed deals with HC Davos of the Swiss National League A and Sharks center Logan Couture signed with Geneve-Servette, also of the Swiss League .Thornton and Nash played for Davos during the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

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It's early, but John Carlson is easily living up to his new contract

It's early, but John Carlson is easily living up to his new contract

Whenever a player has a career year in the last year of his contract, there is always some trepidation the next season. Was he really worth all those years or all that money that come with his new deal or did he just cash in on one great season?

John Carlson got the big contract and now is silencing all the doubters with his outstanding play.

Carlson scored his fifth goal of the season Monday as he chipped in a great feed from Jakub Vrana past Vancouver Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson (see above).

He later assisted on Evgeny Kuznetsov's goal in the second period giving him his fifth multi-point game of the year.

On the final year of his deal in 2017-18, Carlson was brilliant with 15 goals, 53 assists and 68 points, all of which were career highs.

It’s rare to see a bonafide No. 1 defenseman hit the open market, meaning there would have been plenty of teams lining up to pay him the big bucks. The Caps never let it get that far and they re-signed Carlson to an eight-year deal worth $64 million before free agency opened. His $8 million cap hit ties him for second among all defensemen.

That’s a whole lot of money to spend on a player whose previous career high was 55 points. Carlson would not have been the first player to regress in the first year after signing a big deal and he certainly would not be the last.

For now, however, he looks like he is worth every penny.

Carlson’s 68 points last season led all defensemen and he looks like he’s on pace to shatter those numbers. His goal Monday was his 11th point on the season. It took him 15 goals to reach that mark last season and 43 games to reach five goals.

Despite a career year, Carlson was not invited to the All-Star Game, he was not a finalist for the Norris Trophy and he was not named a first or second-team All-Star at season’s end. At his current rate of play, however, he will be impossible to ignore. 

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With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

On June 7 in Las Vegas, Jay Beagle was in a Capitals uniform as they hoisted their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Three weeks later, the 33-year-old signed a four-year, $12-million contract with the Vancouver Canucks

The Capitals begin a four-game, Canadian road trip this evening in Vancouver. Beagle did not attend the Capitals ring ceremony at the Palm three weeks ago so the Caps awarded Beagle with his ring today.

Each ring contains 252 diamonds, 35 rubies and one sapphire. Beagle was impressed but isn't sure how much use the ring will get.

“Not sure I’ll wear it again. It’s like wearing my truck.”

Jay Beagle will not be on the ice tonight against his former team. Beagle broke his forearm when he blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on October 13th. Beagle is expected to be sidelined for another five weeks.

Despite the injury, it has still been a great week for Beagle. 

A shiny, new ring AND a baby girl. Not too shabby.

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