Brooks Laich wanted to play hockey. During the lockout he will, even if the NHL season doesn’t happen.
The Washington Capitals forward signed to play for the Kloten Flyers of National League A in Switzerland, the club announced Friday.
Laich, the Caps’ NHL Players’ Association representative, going to Europe cannot be viewed as a positive signal about a new collective bargaining agreement getting done soon. The NHL on Thursday canceled the remainder of the preseason and it’s likely regular-season games will go by the wayside soon.
“I’d prefer to be around our own guys,” Laich said Sept. 18. “But the longer it goes, I’m sure you’re going to look for opportunities to play real games.”
Now he’ll get that chance.
The next Caps players to go to Europe could be the likes of Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson and Wojtek Wolski. The Swedes are free to sign in the Swedish Elite League, and Wolski said in a text message this week he should be leaving for Poland in a couple of weeks.