The latest alternative to the NHL began _ with alternative being the operative word. With the lockout entering its second day, some players turned to the Original Stars Hockey League, a six-team, four-on-four operation set up by an Ontario businessman.
Two makeshift teams dubbed "Toronto" and "Detroit" combined for 29 goals in front of 2,176 at a 4,500-seat arena about 50 miles from Toronto. Spectators spent anywhere from $34 to $60 to see the game. Former Lightning goalie Dan Cloutier stopped 42 of 55 shots for the win.
"We're all disappointed with the situation," Cloutier said. "I'd much rather be in training camp in Vancouver and playing for my team. Hopefully, we'll get this settled earlier than later."
The game hardly resembles the NHL. Body checking is not allowed and line changes are made only on the fly. Penalties result in penalty shots rather than a man sitting in a penalty box, and exhibition shootouts follow each 17-minute period.
THORNTON, NASH A HIT IN EUROPE: All-star forwards Joe Thornton (Bruins) and Rick Nash (Blue Jackets) made their European debuts with HC Davos of the Swiss Elite League. Nash, a left wing for the Blue Jackets, scored once and Thornton had two assists in a 3-2 victory over Lugano.
"It's going to be a fun experience," Thornton said. "Fun to be on the ice right now and fun to be doing it with Rick. It's something I know that we'll be glad we did. We'll send pictures."
PRIME MINISTER OPTIMISTIC: Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin told the television network CBC that his government has no plans to step in and help mediate the dispute between the owners and players. "I don't think so," he said. "If I thought it would help, I sure would."
The 1994 lockout lasted 104 days; 468 games were lost. Play resumed Jan. 20, 1995. "They will resolve it," Martin said.
RED WINGS: Forward Henrik Zetterberg signed with his former Swiss Elite League team, Timra, according to the Detroit Free Press. He has an escape clause to return to the NHL.
LOCKOUT: DAY 3
WHAT HAPPENED: Nothing.
NEXT NEGOTIATING SESSION: None planned.
WHAT THE LIGHTNING WOULD BE DOING: Second day of training camp.
QUOTABLE: "Speaking from experience, sitting out a season is not the easiest thing to do. But when you have 700-plus guys on your side, and it's not just you standing alone, obviously, the principles are very strong. And we'll stick by them." _ Islanders captain Michael Peca.