Kevin Klein joins Herlev Eagles

Kevin Klein joins a few other Preds in Europe during the Lockout

We missed this news last week, but it looks like Kevin Klein has made the move to Europe as the lockout continues to chip away at the 2012-13 season.

Nashville’s defenseman will be teaming up with the Herlev Eagles, a team in Demark, part of the AL-Bank Ligaen (the highest league in Denmark). Klein will now be the sixth Predators to head overseas, with Craig Smith returning to the U.S. not too long ago.

Klein recently signed a contract extension with the Preds worth $14.5 million for five years. With a career high of 21 points last season, the Predators were more than happy to re-sign the 27-year-old defenseman.

As a reminder, here are the current Predators skating it up in Europe:

Pekka Rinne is with Dinamo Minsk
Sergei Kostitsyn is with Avangard Omsk
Patric Hörnqvist is with HC Red Ice
Roman Josi is with SC Bern
Craig Smith was with SM-Liiga

This picture makes us sad.

ESPN3 Picks up KHL, Hörnqvist Signs with HC Red Ice, & SK74 starts Rumors

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Although ESPN is notorious for ignoring all things hockey related (including acknowledging this current lockout), they turned some heads today by coming to an agreement with the Russian-based hockey league to air games on the sports giant’s online channel, ESPN3.

While it isn’t much, at least ESPN is taking the the initiative to draw NHL fans to their site, giving fans at least some chance of seeing their beloved players take to the ice – even if it’s half way around the world. And, believe it or not, this isn’t the first time KHL games have been aired on ESPN3. For the past two seasons, ESPN3 has aired a few games on their station, though thanks to the lockout, it has gained more attention now.

The first game to be shown on ESPN3 will be between Dynamo Moscow and AK Bars on Wednesday, with four more games to follow up until the 9th of this month. More games are set to be scheduled as the lockout continues.

Though almost the entire team is eligible to play in Europe, only a few have fully committed to a team during the lockout including:

– Pekka Rinne – Dinamo Minsk
– Roman Josi – SC Bern
– Patric Hörnqvist was set to return to his former team Djurgarden, but due to high taxes and insurance, Hörnqvist is seeking another route. Where to now? HC Red Ice, yet another Swiss league team.

Rumors are still swarming around as to what Martin Erat is up to, along with rumors that Sergei Kostitsyn wants to stay with the KHL, even after the lockout is settled. However, we have yet to come across anything that has stated he has even signed with a team. Maybe we missed it in the Russian-to-English translation.

Also, be prepared for the NHL to start announcing the cancelation of regular season games some time this week. Good news, however, if the NHL and NHLPA can come to an agreement before November, all 82 games will still be scheduled. Let’s hope for that.

It’s Off to Europe for Rinne, Hornqvist, & Josi: Who’s Next?

Pekka Rinne, Patric Hornqvist, & Roman Josi have hit the trail to Europe.

With all of September’s preseason games cancelled and three already missed, the Predators (along with players across the league) are struggling with the decision of wether to wait out the NHL Lockout or head over seas to continue what they do best.

Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Alexander Semin have been vocal about their departure for the ‘Mother Land’, prompting fellow NHLers to consider the same decisions, wether they nestle in the KHL or not.

Rumors have been swirling around particular Preds, with Martin Erat supposedly returning to the Czech Republic and Sergei Kostitsyn possibly signing with a KHL team, but the only truth for Predators fans is this: Pekka Rinne has signed with a KHL team, Patric Hornqvist signs with Sweden, and Roman Josi (who actually made his announcement earlier in the week) returns to Switzerland.

Amidst rumors of him signing with the Finnish Elite League, Pekka was adamant about settling with a KHL team instead of one in his native Finland. Rinne will be goaltending for Dinamo Minsk out of Belarus during the duration of the lockout.

Patric Hornqvist naturally returned to Sweden, signing with Djurgården, a key team of Sweden’s Allsvenskan league. Preds’ first rounder Pontus Aberg is active on Djurgården’s roster, giving Hornqvist the opportunity to help the youngster prepare for (maybe one day) a shot in the National Hockey League.

Roman Josi was the first to announce his departure to Europe under the Predators roof, shipping back to S.C. Bern of Switzerland. Former Pred J.P. Dumont played for S.C. Bern last season, gaining eight goals in just 31 games. Josi is expected to hit the ice for S.C. Bern on September 29th.

With Pekka, Patric, and Roman packing up and heading overseas, it’s only a matter of time before the other members of the Nashville Predators inevitably agree to the same decision. As mentioned, SK74 and Martin Erat are already in negations with European teams, so only time will tell when they sign.

The NHL and NHLPA have scheduled a formal meeting on Friday to discuss options on the current lockout, hopefully coming to some sort of an agreement.