It seems as if most of the league's top players have already found new jobs in one of the various European leagues, with new names being added to the list every day. So let's take a moment to catch up with the some of the NHL stars who are currently playing overseas.
Rick Nash - Agreed to terms with Swiss league powerhouse HC Davos after they were willing to meet his critical contract demand that they be absolutely 100% sure that they don't play in Columbus.
Paul Bissonnette - His new contract with the British league's Cardiff Devils gives the veteran enforcer the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be known as "the guy with the relatively nice teeth".
Nicklas Backstrom - Briefly created controversy by wearing #99, which is associated with Wayne Gretzky, before switching to #69, which is associated with that fat guy with the mullet in your ball hockey league.
Alexander Semin - Got tired of constantly being referred to as "the enigmatic Russian"; signed with his hometown team in Russia so that he could try constantly being referred to as "the enigmatic local boy" instead.
Devin Setoguchi - His agent recently got him a contract with a team in the ECHL, which he assumes stands for "European Championship Hockey League" or something although come to think of it he didn't realize you could take a Greyhound bus to Europe.
Joffrey Lupul - Recently signed with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL in an effort to keep his "playing for a hopeless last place team" skills sharp.
Zdeno Chara - While he enjoys travelling to distant and exotic lands, he admits to still finding it annoying when he wakes up every morning to find that the local townspeople have tied him down on a beach.
Jaromir Jagr - Is playing in the Czech league to stay sharp for his eventual return to NHL action with the Penguins or the Rangers or the Kings or OK fine even he doesn't remember which team he plays for right now.
Shane Doan - There are a few hundred teams in Europe to choose from, so his agent expects him to get around to picking one by late 2017.
John Tavares - Is having so much fun playing in Switzerland that he hasn't even had a chance to figure out why all his North American friends keep texting him that same weird Brooklyn hipster joke.
Joe Thornton - Is doing what he always does during a work stoppage: Playing with Rick Nash in Switzerland to stay in top shape for whichever team acquires him for nothing after the lockout ends.
Ilya Bryzgalov - Was named player of the week in the Intergalactic Hockey League after posting back-to-back shutouts against the first place Vogsphere Vogons, according to the story he's currently telling terrified fellow bus passengers who are trying not to make eye contact with him.
Alexander Ovechkin - Won't ever have to worry about riding the pine during the third period like he did all last year in Washington, assuming they make benches out of a different kind of wood in Russia.
Patrick Kane - Chose to accept an offer from EHC Biel in Switzerland due to the city's educational opportunities, we're assuming, since he spent the entire contract negotiation asking questions about the quality of local sororities.
Ilya Kovalchuk - While he realizes that European teams traditionally cover their uniforms in advertisements, he still finds it a little odd that every ad on his jersey is from an NHL fan, and they all read "Your stupid contract caused all of this".
April 18, 1999 – Gretzky plays the last game of his career, waves to the crowd, then leaves the ice for the final time before turning to his teammates and saying "Wait, why didn't anyone ever tell me I had one side of my jersey untucked this whole time?"
From A brief history of Wayne Gretzky, one of 24 chapters of brand new material available exclusively in The Best of Down Goes Brown.
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