Locked-out NHL stars eye Swiss hockey teams

Swiss ice hockey teams look set to benefit from a lockout of players in North America’s National Hockey League over a wage dispute.

Locked-out NHL stars eye Swiss hockey teams
Swiss national team captain Mark Streit is sizing up a move to Bern (Photo: Dan4th Nicholas).

With the lockout entering its third day on Tuesday and no talks planned between representatives of the NHL teams and the players, some stars are deciding to play in Switzerland while the deadlock continues.

Joe Thornton, centre forward and captain of the San Jose Sharks, was among those making such a move.

Thornton announced he will play for the Davos hockey team, in the canton of Graubünden.

His first game for the Swiss National League A team could be as soon as this weekend.

Thornton met his wife in Davos when he played for the Swiss team during a previous NHL lockout in 2004.

“Yes, just because my wife is from there, she has a home there, we go there five weeks in the summer to see her family and I actually train with Davos when I’m over there,” Thornton told on Monday.

“I know the team real well, and they know me,” Thornton said.

“It’s a natural fit for me to go back there and play."

Another player reported to be considering playing in Davos is New York Rangers left winger Rick Nash, who also played for the Swiss team during the NHL lockout eight years ago.

Logan Couture, a centre with the San Jose Sharks, informed that he was likely headed to the Geneva Servette team.

This followed reports of other NHL players planning to fly to Switzerland to stay active during the lockout, including Mark Streit, captain of the New York Islanders.

Streit, who is captain of the Swiss national team, is planning to join the Bern team during the stoppage in North America, the 20 Minutes newspaper reported.

He began his playing career as a junior in Bern before launching his professional career in Switzerland with the Fribourg-Gotteron and Davos teams.

Streit moved to the NHL in 2005.

Other players from the North American league are considering moves to Swiss or other European teams, including those in Russia, for the duration of the lockout, the NHL’s fourth shutdown in 20 years.

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Sweden beat Swiss to win ice hockey world title in shoot-out drama

Sweden retained their world championship title with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over plucky Switzerland in Copenhagen on Sunday.

Sweden beat Swiss to win ice hockey world title in shoot-out drama
Swiss players react after the defeat to Sweden. Photo: AFP

Filip Forsberg of the NHL's Nashville Predators scored the winning penalty as Sweden came back from 1-0 down in the shoot-out to win 2-1 following a 2-2 draw after overtime.

Surprise finalists Switzerland had been aiming for their first ever world title, while Sweden claimed an 11th crown.

Sweden had been the only unbeaten team through the group stage while Switzerland scraped into the quarter-finals with the weakest record.

But they stunned Group B winners Finland and then Canada to take their place in a third world championship final.

Five years ago they had lost to Sweden, who beat them 5-3 in the group stages too.

Switzerland twice took the lead, in each of the first two periods, but were pegged back by the favourites before the end of each stanza.

Minnesota Wild's Nino Niederreiter had given them a 16th minute lead but Gustav Nyquist of the Detroit Red Wings equalised a minute later.

On 23 minutes Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks put the underdogs in front again, but that was wiped out by New York Ranger Mika Zibanejad on 34 minutes.

With no scores in either the third period or overtime, the final was decided by a shoot-out where Switzerland once again took the lead.

But Oliver Ekman-Larsson cancelled out Sven Andrighetto's successful strike, allowing Forsberg to become the hero.

Christopher Kreider of the Rangers scored twice as the United States thumped Canada 4-1 to take the bronze medal.

 After Kreider opened the scoring, Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the Sharks equalised.

But goals from Nashville's Nicholas Bonino and Anders Lee of the New York Islanders put the US in charge before Kreider rounded out the win.