Call the Locksmith
And so it begins, but it’s a major step back.
It’s another lockout for the National Hockey League, another lockout under commissioner Gary Bettman. In Bettman’s 19 seasons at the helm of the NHL‘s operations, this is now the third time the league has undergone a work stoppage.
It began before the 1994-’95 season, it landed again in 2004-’05, and it comes back to haunt us in 2012- ?
Things were made official at 9:00PM PST Saturday night, but anyone coherent to the sport knew of the demise to come on Thursday afternoon, after the owners and players left negotiations, yet again, with contradictions that seem to threaten NHL-play for months to come.
They’re talking money, and we’re getting robbed.
The Granite State
Manchester Bound: One of the most important aspects to cover during a lockout is to keep players active, keep them playing. For the Kings, they had three players on last year’s active roster who were eligible to be assigned to the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League without having to clear waivers.
Those three players are Andrei Loktionov, Vyacheslav Voynov, and Jordan Nolan.
Loktionov played 32 games with the Monarchs last season, notching five goals and 15 assists for 20 points before being called up for his third stint with the Kings. In a Los Angeles uniform, Loktionov chimed in with three goals and four assists in 39 regular season games.
Voynov had a breakout season in his NHL debut, which saw him tally eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points in 54 games in a Kings uniform. However, Voynov began last season in Manchester, where he potted two goals and two assists for four points in 15 contests.
Nolan spent the majority of last season with the Monarchs, playing in 40 games while chipping in with nine goals and thirteen assists. Nolan was a pleasant surprise when called up with Dwight King, providing consistency on the third and fourth lines. Nolan recorded two goals and two assists in 26 games, along with 28 penalty minutes.
Just looking to skate
Open Ice: It’s not uncommon to seek a roster spot overseas in Europe during a lockout. For players, not only does it open up more money, but more importantly, it keeps the body and mind active for the anticipated return to the NHL.
The Kings have 22 players from last season’s active roster who have no other choice but to explore the international landscape if they want to play hockey on a regular basis during this lockout. Chances are, most, if not all of these players, will wait out the first leg of the work stoppage without playing to make up for their extended 2011-’12 season and celebratory offseason.
Dustin Brown has fielded offers to play in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League and Switzerland’s Swiss Elite League. There’s some outsourcing to be done – that’s for sure.
There are five Kings players who can play within the country and join the AHL‘s Manchester Monarchs, but would have to clear waivers first. Those are Andrew Campbell, Marc-Andre Cliche, Richard Clune, Thomas Hickey, and Jake Muzzin.
Clune and Muzzin are the only two from that group to have seen time in a Kings uniform.
Don’t expect to see anyone in a Kings uniform anytime soon, because unfortunately, the reality of what this world exists on is hitting hockey fans yet again.
That’s money, honey.
All about the Benjamins
We’ll see you in Manchester
In New Hampshire, the State slogan is “Live free or die”.
For the NHL, it’s “pay to play”.