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NHL season on the verge of cancellation as Crosby considers Europe

The Pittsburgh Penguins star is mulling over a move to get some game time.

Sidney Crosby closes his eyes and tries to picture a world where ice hockey players play ice hockey.
Sidney Crosby closes his eyes and tries to picture a world where ice hockey players play ice hockey.
Image: AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

THE NHL SEASON that has been effectively on lockout for the past two months is nearing the point of no return.

Players, through their NHLPA union, and franchise owners are no closer to agreeing terms to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is supposed to divide income and profits equally, than when talks began back in early September.

Many of the league’s top players have opted to move, temporarily, to clubs in Switzerland and Russia while promising Canadian and American stars have been farmed out to feeder teams.

The stalemate must be resolved before the end of the year or the prospect of staging a 30-game regular season in 2013 would be moot.

A sign of the worrying times for hockey fans in North America comes with news that ice hockey’s biggest name, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, is considering a switch to Europe.

“I don’t know, specifically,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “if I’ve gotten to that point where I’m looking at [particular] teams, but I think I’m more or less thinking that playing is becoming a little more and more important here, the longer we go.”

Divisions in the ranks

“We’re still trying to hold on,” Crosby told assembled reporters at an informal training session in Pennsylvania on Monday.

With no talks scheduled for the remainder of the week, Crosby admitted it was hard to put into words just how frustrated the players and their union felt.

Seasonal headliner events such as the Winter Classic and the All-Star game have already fallen by the wayside as the impasse heads toward an 11th week.

“Hopefully everybody can find a way to make it work,” said Crosby after his skate. “For me, I’m trying to get ready for whenever that is.”

Players such as Roman Hamrlik and Michal Neuvrith have turned on star players such as Crosby and Steve Stankos, arguing that the pay wrangling is solely for their benefit.

Crosby commented, “They’re a right to state what they think. Whenever you get 750 players to have the exact same look on every single detail is pretty tough. It’s close to impossible.”

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Patrick McCarry

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