SUN Hockey Pool

Rush to Europe by NHLers begins

Russian President Vladimir Putin receives a jersey from Russian national ice hockey team member...

Russian President Vladimir Putin receives a jersey from Russian national ice hockey team member Yevgeni Malkin at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, May 29, 2012. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:29 PM ET

It didn't take long for many NHL players to find new homes.

Only hours after the lockout was confirmed Sunday, some members of the NHLPA decided they weren't going to wait to go back to work and signed overseas contracts to keep them busy until there's a new CBA in place.

While Magnitogorsk of the KHL confirmed the signings of Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Ottawa's Sergei Gonchar, they weren't the only ones who will ply their trades in Europe for the foreseeable future.

Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, Edmonton's Nail Yakupov, Winnipeg's Alexei Ponikarovsky and New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk are all headed for the KHL. Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec is headed for HC Trinec in the Czech league.

Dallas veteran Jaromir Jagr didn't have to look hard for a job. He signed with the Czech league's HC Kladno, the team he owns, and he'll have former Habs' teammate Tomas Plekanec there as well. There will be more in the coming days.

"Several of my locked-out NHL clients signed contracts in Europe and many more will be signing in the near term," agent Allan Walsh said Sunday. "The players want to play, they don't want to be locked out. While the NHL continues with its nonsense, the players have the option to sit at home or to play hockey in Europe. Many will choose to go play."


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