Ex-Sen's Finnish deal hits snag

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

Shean Donovan was ready to pack his bags.

But the former Senators winger has had to put away the suitcases and is suddenly facing the prospect of retirement.

After accepting a deal to play in Finland, Donovan was told the contract has been put on hold.

So the 35-year-old free agent is back to square one, searching for a new home. Except now theres only two weeks before NHL camps open.

Instead of going for a skate Wednesday at the Bell Sensplex, Donovan went for a bike ride in the Gatineau hills with his lawyer, Larry Kelly.

I dont really know whats going to happen now, said Donovan. I thought that I had something in Europe, but it didnt work out. There was a deal I thought I accepted, but they said I didnt call back quick enough.

Its all right. I guess it just means this is going to take a little longer. Ill have to find something else. I said, Sure, Ill take it and then they didnt call me back for a few days.

Its been a tough summer for Donovan and his family. He knew it was going to be hard to find a job after playing a limited role last season with the Senators 30 games in which he had two goals and three assists and struggling with injuries.

Still, only 49 NHL games shy of 1,000 in his career, Donovan would like to hit the milestone.

The Finnish offer was attractive because he didnt need to report until mid-October and could accept an NHL deal.

Im just going to have to wait for something else, said Donovan. Im going to have to regroup. Its not the end of the world. I knew I was going to have to wait until NHL teams go to camp.

I guess Im just back to the point where Im going to have my agent talk to some teams. There has been some interest (from NHL teams), but nothing has been 100% like I thought (the Finnish offer) was.

Donovan isnt the only NHL veteran in a precarious position.

Former Senators defenceman Christoph Schubert, 28, who finished last season with the Atlanta Thrashers, has been skating in Ottawa and is looking for work.

So is veteran winger Bill Guerin, who showed up in Philadelphia Wednesday. But the 39-year-old hasnt discussed a tryout with the Flyers. He would rather have a contract in place.

As for Donovan, the good news is if somebody does come calling, hes on this side of the Atlantic.

I knew it was going to be this kind of summer. Its not the way you want it to go when youre trying to decide where to play, said Donovan. Look, something will happen. This is going to take care of itself whichever way it goes.

Ill be ready to go overseas as well if something opens up over there. Those are options. So is retirement.


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