SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks holds his daugher, Ayla, when he waves to the crowd during a pregame ceremony honoring Thornton for playing in 1000 games and scoring 1000 points at HP Pavilion at San Jose on November 3, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Of all the scenarios in which Joe Thornton and Rick Nash would be playing on the same hockey team in 2012, a lockout resulting in the two returning to the Swiss club with which they won two championships during the NHL's last work stoppage is definitely a more palatable option than the Sharks trading Joe Pavelski or Logan Couture to Columbus or Thornton being shipped to the New York Rangers after Nash landed there.
It's still a bit disappointing though as Thornton and Nash become the latest stars on a list that includes Evgeni Malkin, Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Kovalchuk, Tomas Plekanec, Ales Hemsky, and potentially Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar and Pavel Datsyuk, to sign in Europe; a definite sign that, in the players' estimation, we aren't going to see NHL hockey anytime soon. The Fourth Period also reports that, in addition to Thornton and Nash returning to HC Davos, Logan Couture has signed with the Swiss National League's Geneva outpost. This comes on the heels of Jason Demers signing with a team in Finland while Michal Handzus will play in his native Slovakia.
On the bright side, only the Swedish Elite League has instituted a rule that NHL players would have to honor the entirety of a one-year contract should they sign with that league's first-tier division and the fact that no one notable has done that yet provides some hope that players aren't counting on another full season being flushed down the toilet. In the interim, hopefully Thornton wins another Swiss League title and Spengler Cup with Davos, if only for the hilarity of people continuing to refer to a man with four championships, two individual awards and an Olympic gold medal as a "choker."