Thursday, April 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis says he'll play in Europe in event of NHL lockout

Marty St. Louis is not getting any younger, which is why the Lightning wing said he will play in Europe this season if the NHL locks out its players for an extended period.

"With my age, you want to keep playing," the 37-year-old said Monday. "I don't want to take a year off. If the NHL wants to shut us down, we'll go play somewhere else."

Teammate Steven Stamkos agreed with the sentiment.

"Definitely thought about it if there is an extended lockout," the center wrote in a text message.

Talks resume today on a collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires Sept. 15, and commissioner Gary Bettman has said players will be locked out if there is no agreement by then.

The Associated Press reported owners want the salary cap reduced to $50.8 million from $70.2 million. The Players' Association proposal sets the cap at about $69 million.

"We believe we're paying out more than we should be," Bettman said.

The problem, St. Louis said, is the current CBA, which cut player salaries 24 percent after the 2004-05 lockout, "was (the owners') deal. And now that deal is not good anymore, so it's hard. It's hard to negotiate like that."

St. Louis stressed the union is "very strong, together, more than last time, no doubt about that. … I believe in deadlines, and I think a lot is going to happen in the next month. Hopefully, we get a deal done."

If not, St. Louis said he expects to be playing in Europe by mid October.

"If it gets to October, it usually means (a lockout) will go longer," said St. Louis, who played in Switzerland during the 2004-05 lockout that wiped out the season. "You have to be patient before you go to Europe, but it's definitely an option guys will look into."

JANUS TO Russia: Goalie prospect and restricted free agent Jaroslav Janus signed a tryout contract with Slovan of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. Janus, 22, was 23-8-2 in 34 games last season with AHL Norfolk. He received permission to play in Europe after Tampa Bay decided to go with Dustin Tokarski and Riku Helenius this season at AHL Syracuse. The Lightning retains Janus' rights.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

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