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Monday, September 17, 2012
Signings roundup: Thornton, Nash to Davos

By Pierre LeBrun

Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and a list of other Russian and European NHLers, as expected, have found temporary lockout homes in their home countries.

But just where the North American-born stars will end up always provides more intrigue.

Eight years ago, during the previous NHL lockout, Joe Thornton enjoyed playing in Davos, Switzerland -- heck, he met his wife there -- and it should surprise no one that he’s headed there again.

"Yes, just because my wife is from there, she has a home there, we go there five weeks in the summer to see her family and I actually train with Davos when I’m over there," Thornton told over the phone Monday. "I know the team real well, and they know me. It’s a natural fit for me to go back there and play."

Thornton said he’s planning on flying to Switzerland by the end of the week and could play as early as this weekend.

"Hopefully the lockout ends sooner rather than later, but I have to go play," said the San Jose Sharks captain.

Rick Nash joined Thornton in Davos last time around and appears to be doing so again, sources told's Katie Strang. They both had a blast eight years ago, making the most of the lockout.

"If you find the right spot, it can be a real good experience, you meet some nice people and you get to keep playing hockey," Thornton said. "It worked out well for us I thought."

Other big names we checked on Monday:

For so many of these high-end players, insurance is such a factor. For KHL-bound Evgeni Malkin, for example, a source told that he’ll need to pay about $250,000 per year for two years’ worth of coverage on his $9 million salary, although it’s believed the premiums will be paid monthly and can be cancelled without penalty once the NHL lockout is over.

Still, it’s a huge chunk of change and that’s why NHL stars will tread carefully before heading over. Remember, as I wrote in Friday’s blog about the rules of the lockout, an NHL team has the right to suspend a player without pay once the NHL season resumes until he’s fit to play if he injures himself while playing in another league during the lockout.