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Valtteri Filppula to become the latest locked-out NHL star to join the Finnish SM-Liiga

Detroit forward will return to former team Helsinki Jokerit for the duration of the NHL lockout. Local rivals HIFK are in talks over enlisting Lennart Petrell of Edmonton Oilers


Valtteri Filppula to become the latest locked-out NHL star to join the Finnish SM-Liiga
Valtteri Filppula to become the latest locked-out NHL star to join the Finnish SM-Liiga Valtteri Filppula
Valtteri Filppula to become the latest locked-out NHL star to join the Finnish SM-Liiga Alexander Ovechkin
Valtteri Filppula to become the latest locked-out NHL star to join the Finnish SM-Liiga Jason Spezza
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It is still unclear as to whether the trickle will become a flood, but the first NHL players, unable to get a game of ice hockey - or even a place to train - across the Atlantic because of the impasse between the team owners and the players' association, are now being recruited by SM-Liiga clubs for the duration of the NHL lock-out.
      Helsinki Jokerit are about to receive a valuable addition to their line-up, thanks to the North American labour dispute. Valtteri Filppula will arrive in Helsinki on Saturday and his first game in Finland's elite ice hockey league will follow soon after that, the late-edition tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reported on Wednesday.
      Stanley Cup winner Filppula last played in the SM-Liiga and in the Jokerit ranks in 2004-2005.
      For years he has been one of the regulars in the Detroit Red Wings line-up in the NHL. On Wednesday, Helsingin Sanomat was unable to get a confirmation from Jokerit regarding Filppula’s move.
     
Of the other Finnish NHL stars, Jussi Jokinen of Carolina Hurricanes appeared in the Oulu Kärpät line-up already on Wednesday.
      It was a welcome return: Jokinen scored as Kärpät thrashed Pori Ässät 6-0 to record their first win and their first points of the season.
     
HIFK Helsinki, in turn, hopes to see Lennart Petrell of Edmonton Oilers in its ranks as soon as possible.
      The Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin will not be coming in this direction, but will play in the Russian premier ice hockey league, the Kontinental Hockey League KHL, during the NHK work stoppage.
      More than likely Ovechkin, who is one of the biggest names in the NHL, will represent his former team Dynamo Moscow during his stint in the Russian league.
      Ovechkin’s transfer to Dynamo Moscow was first reported by the Russian daily sports newspaper Sport-Express.
      In the NHL, Ovechkin represents the Washington Capitals. He assumes that the salary dispute will last for some time, and possibly for the entire season.
      "If the league continues with its demands, then the lockout will drag on for a year. We [the players] are not going to give way, either. Then I will spend the entire season in the KHL. It's real", Ovechkin said in an exclusive interview with Dmitry Ponomarenko of Sovetsky Sport.
      Ovechkin would not yet confirm his anticipated move to Dynamo. "I am not yet ready to answer this question. But I think that you will know everything in a few days. It will all be officially announced", he said.
      Of other Russian NHL stars, Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils will render his services to SKA St Petersburg, while Sergei Gonchar of the Ottawa Senators and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins will strengthen the ranks of the Metallurg Magnitogorsk side.
     
Switzerland seems to be attracting the NHL players of Canadian origin.
      The Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza has signed on with Rapperswil-Jona for the duration of the NHL lockout, joining fellow Canadians Logan Couture (Geneva-Servette) and Rick Nash and Joe Thornton (HC Davos) in the Swiss A League.
      The Boston Bruins goaltender Anton Hubodin, who would compete with Finnish Tuukka Rask over playing time in the NHL is transferring to the KHL team Atlant, with whom another Finnish goalie Juuso Riksman failed to secure a contract not too long ago.
     


Previously in HS International Edition:
  NHL lock-out offers local league a candy store, but insurance premiums cause furrowed brows (18.9.2012)

Links:
  SM-Liiga (Wikipedia)
  NHL 2012-2013 (Wikipedia)

Helsingin Sanomat


  20.9.2012 - TODAY
 Valtteri Filppula to become the latest locked-out NHL star to join the Finnish SM-Liiga

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