Jonkoping, Sweden -- In a month or two there may be a thriving 'I Survived The Great NHL Lockout of 2004-05' T-shirt industry in Canada. But seven players ought to go out and get their own T-shirts printed up: 'I survived the Great NHL Lockout of 2004-05 by playing six games in seven nights.'
These guys won't be going back to tell Bob Goodenow to drop the NHLPA clause about not playing more than two games in a row.
"I think it's the first time in the history of NHL hockey that anybody has played six in seven nights," said Alexandre Daigle, who along with Tony Amonte, John-Michael Liles and Tie Domi did it with the Worldstars.
BACK IN PLAYING SHAPE
Sergei Fedorov, who along with Ray Whitney and Kris Draper played five of six with this team and the other in the Igor Larionov going-away game back in Moscow, said it would be great if the NHL season got going about a week from now.
"I feel great. I finally got in shape," he said.
Fedorov, Whitney, Daigle, Liles and Johnny-come-lately Jamal Mayers scored for the Worldstars, who were staked to a 2-0 lead by Martin Brodeur in the first half before he gave way to Dominik Hasek.
The Worldstars skated to a 5-1 win over HV-71 here after having been bombed 6-1 by Farjestad the night before.
"We hit the wall yesterday," said Domi - a guy who was just never meant to be introduced to the large European ice surface.
"I'm glad it's over," said Draper. "It's a good send-off to go home. I played three games in three nights in the minors before, but not three in a row and then three more in a row.
"To be honest, it wasn't so much the games as the travel to get from country to country to play the games. That's why we won today. Going from Karlstad to Jonkoping is like going from Edmonton to Calgary. It was a snap. We got some jump back."
Liles said he hadn't planned on playing six in seven, seven in nine, or as it will work out now, all 10 in a span of 14 days.
"I was having a nice nap back at the hotel in Karlstad when the phone rang. I thought, 'This can't be good.' They said Rhett Warrener was too sick to play and asked if I'd come to the rink."
Mats Sundin, who wore the captain's 'C' last night, wanted to put on a bit of a show in his native country but had nothing to give, even though he took a game off in Bern to get ready for the three in Sweden and one in Norway before he calls it a tour.
"I've got a cold. Half the team is sick. The other half is worn out. I've never gone through anything remotely this tough in training camp."
It was only about the 12th game Sundin has played in Sweden since he became an NHLer.
MATS MAY STAY HOME
Sundin says with the NHL-NHLPA talks making no progress he's starting to think about playing here after Christmas.
"I haven't decided. If I do stay over here to play it will be with Djurgarden, the team I played with before I went to the NHL."
Spending most of the lockout in Spain until joining the Worldstars in Russia, the big Swede says this has been a bit much.
"It's been tough. But it's been good, too. I think I needed it. It will certainly help if the season does start in January," added Sundin, who is going to spend Christmas with his family in Stockholm.
The Worldstars, who play in Linkoping tomorrow, beat the champions of the Swedish Elite League in this one.
But HV-71, so named because Husqvarna and Vatterstad combined clubs in 1971, has had a rough season, sitting 10th in the 12-team league.
"Other teams brought over a lot of NHLers," said GM Dag Larsson. "We took the decision to stay with our normal team, feeling we'd be in a better position when the NHLers went back to North America."
They did bring over Toronto Maple Leaf Bryan McCabe, who was a massive bust.
McCabe did not survive the great NHL lockout of 2004-05.
Been there. Done that. But doesn't get the T-shirt.