With the NHL labour impasse looking more bleak by the day, the exodus of locked out players is about to pick up steam.
On Thursday, Philadelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux — who had been skating with a group of players in Kanata to while away the days — and fellow local product Daniel Briere signed on with German squad Eisbaren Berlin.
And with the cancellation of the first regular season NHL games a done deal, Senators centre Kyle Turris is also looking to Europe.
“It’s up to the guys to do whatever they want to do, but to find a competitive place to play and keep the level of game shape and your timing and all that is pretty important,” Turris said following a morning workout at the Bell Sensplex. “Quite a few guys have signed over there already and it’s just going to be more and more.”
As a result, Turris and his agent have been discussing their next move.
“It’s definitely an option that I knew about to begin with, that I’ve started considering more seriously now.”
The NHL announced a few hours later that regular season schedule through Oct. 24 was toast.
Senators centre Jason Spezza is already playing for the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers of the Swiss Elite League, while defenceman Erik Karlsson is in Finland after signing a deal with Jokerit.
As with most of his colleagues, Turris isn’t feeling great about the likelihood of playing NHL hockey any time soon.
“It’s not looking promising right now,” he said. “You try to keep a positive outlook and stay confident that something’s going to get done, but at the same time you have to prepare yourself for the worst and, if there’s no hockey, find somewhere else to play,” he said.
The boredom that comes with daily practice seems to be catching up with everyone.
“It’s definitely repetitious,” he explained. “I mean, the funnest part of hockey is playing games. You understand that practicing is probably the most important part and all that, but at the same time, you want the thrill and the excitement of getting out on the ice and playing games and playing in front of the fans.”
Meanwhile, spectators in North America are left with darkened arenas — something Turris feels will do plenty of damage.
“I think it would seriously hurt the league as a whole if there’s no hockey, this whole year especially, but even until Christmas or January, it would take a hit,” Turris said. “It’s something that obviously hurts the players, hurts the owners, and the fans are dying to watch hockey.”