Lockout Fallout: Islanders Players Head to Europe (Where They're Allowed to Play)

Mike Stobe - Getty Images for USTA

Locked out by the NHL, so what'chu gonna do? If you feel at home in Europe, you play pro hockey with old friends and new foes who aren't wearing suits while blathering about revenues.

Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky, the two 30-something New York Islanders offensive defensemen, are wasting no time letting the NHL and NHLPA sort out their money fight.

Visnovsky has signed a reported one-month deal with Slovan Bratislava, a Slovakian club now in the KHL. That's the club he was connected with in those Slovakian reports shortly after his trade from the Ducks was announced, and it's also a non-Russian (obviously) KHL club, so the rules for signing locked out NHL players are a little more manageable.

Meanwhile Streit, the Islanders captain, is among several NHL stars that the Swiss league has its eyes on. Joe Thornton and Rick Nash repeatedly come up in rumors of players who may open proverbial Swiss bank accounts, while Streit has reportedly chosen to play for his hometown club in Bern (he'd also been considering Zurich, apparently).

Those are the obvious names when you look at the Islanders roster for natural fits to spend the lockout in Europe. No rumblings about Evgeni Nabokov yet -- though Yahoo's Dmitry Chesnokov says he's "entertaining" KHL offers -- and Jesse Joensuu's new contract included an out clause to Europe (though that doesn't affect his ability to play there during the lockout).

Meanwhile, Frans Nielsen's hometown club in Herning is reportedly working to line him up during the lockout, though insuring the value of pricey NHL contracts is no small obstacle for smaller European clubs. No word on if Michael Grabner has any Euro plans, though certainly any Austrian club would face the same hurdles.

As for the rest of the Islanders' Euro natives, they're assigned to AHL Bridgeport already. You know, where they'll be able to play.

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