EuroVision: Lundqvist calls out Swedish league

EuroVision: Highlights, notes, tweets and photos from across the pond – where the lockout doesn’t quite translate

When in Sweden, tweet in Swedish.

More and more, Henrik Lundqvist is becoming that rare hockey superstar who doesn’t shy from speaking his mind in his prime.

Frustrated with the lockout, last month the Vezina winner called on both Gary Bettman and Don Fehr to get a deal done through Twitter. And on Wednesday, Lundqvist – now training and visiting family back in his native Sweden – publicly called out the business practices of the Swedish Elite League.

In a series of Swedish-language tweets, reported Expressen, Lundqvist criticized the Swedish Elite League for its unwillingness to permit locked-out NHL players to play in its league.
“Trying to understand why Sv hockey league is the only league in the world that does not want to see NHL players pay back to the clubs that nurtured them,” the New York Rangers goalkeeper wrote (Google translated) in the first of a series of tweets.

Lundqvist suspected that it might be a sign of weakness and not strength that the SEL has been resistant to the temporary influx of talent as some 200 NHLers have signed in other European leagues.

Swedes such as Nicklas Backstrom (KHL), for example, might have joined the SEL had the league been more welcoming.

“Is the NHL lockout really a problem for the premier league, or should I see it as a glorious opportunity instead?” Lundqvist tweeted (translated).

Lundqvist invited Swedish hockey fans into the discussion, and thanked them for their arguments both for and against the SEL resistance to let its individual clubs decide if they want to sign locked-out NHLers.

Earlier this week, IIHF reporter Szymon Szemberg reported on early attendance averages for the European pro leagues in 2012-13.

Last season’s attendance leader, the Swedish Elite League has tumbled all the way to fourth place. The Swiss A league, which has landed several marquee NHL stars – Rick Nash, Logan Couture, Henrik Zetterberg, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Kane, et al. – now leads Europe in hockey attendance.

Despite interest and despite practising with his former SEL club Frolunda, Lundqvist has yet to sign with another team during the lockout.

“I would love to play in Frolunda while this conflict continues, and can feel a great frustration that we cannot solve it so we can get to play in Sweden and a little pay back to our club and to the fans,” he told the Frolunda website Thursday.

Lundqvist says he won’t sign unless he is given an out clause in event a new CBA is reached. Currently, teams in the SEL can only sign players to short-term deals if they are injury replacements.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Max Talbot organized a successful Quebec barnstorming circuit of locked-out NHLers that raised $400,000 for various charities.

Now even Talbot is heading to Europe.

CSN Philadelphia has confirmed that the winger is joining Tampere, which also signed Tampa Bay Lighting goaltender Anders Lindback.

Taking a break from wowing those rammed Swiss rinks, Tyler Seguin was back in Boston Thursday night to take in a Celtics game.

He spoke with about the lockout and playing in Europe. Seguin plans to return to Switzerland on Saturday unless a deal is reached.

“Right now I just miss the boys the most, hanging out,” he told the site. “Europe hockey is a bit different than NHL hockey. It’s really good, but it’s still not the same.”

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