NHL Lockout: 7 Players Struggling Overseas

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2012

NHL Lockout: 7 Players Struggling Overseas

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    During the NBA lockout last year, the top basketball players had few opportunities to play their sport at a major league level.

    There are European basketball leagues, but they are not close to the level of the game played in the NBA.

    Locked-out NHL players have many more opportunities to play the game at a competitive level. The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is the most competitive of those leagues.

    The European leagues challenge NHL players, and some players are either not dominating or struggling overseas at this point.

Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets

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    Evander Kane is one of the Winnipeg Jets' most talented players. If the Jets are going to have any opportunity to make the postseason in the 2012-13 season, Kane will undoubtedly be at or near the top of their scoring leaders.

    He scored 30 goals and had 27 assists last year for the Jets.

    However, the 21-year-old left wing is struggling in the KHL. He has one goal and no assists in his first 11 games with Dinamo Minsk and is minus-six in the plus-minus ratings.

Michal Neuvirth, Washington Capitals

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    Michal Neuvirth was 27-12-4 in net for the Washington Capitals in 2010-11, and he was 13-13-5 last year. While he was supplanted by Braden Holtby during the Caps' playoff run last year, he remains on the roster.

    Neuvirth is playing for Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga, and it has not been easy. He has recorded a 1-9-0 record with a 3.52 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

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    Zdeno Chara is a Norris Trophy-winning defenseman with the Boston Bruins and the captain of the team.

    He is one of the steadiest performers on the Bruins, and he played a huge role in their 2011 Stanley Cup run.

    Chara is playing with Lev Praha in the KHL, and he is not dominating. Chara has scored two goals and five assists in his first 11 games. While those offensive figures are acceptable, he is minus-one in plus-minus rankings. He has been plus-33 in each of the past two seasons for the Bruins.

Nik Antropov, Winnipeg Jets

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    Nik Antropov is viewed as one of the more physically gifted players in the NHL. He has not always been able to play that talent level, and consistency has not been one of his top attributes.

    Antropov is playing for Barys Astana of the KHL. In 12 games, he has two goals and four assists. He is also plus-one in the plus-minus ratings.

Anton Babchuk, Calgary Flames

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    Anton Babchuk is a defenseman with the Calgary Flames who has a fairly hard shot and has been dangerous in the past. During the 2008-09 season with the Carolina Hurricanes, he scored 16 goals and 19 assists.

    He also scored eight goals and had 19 assists for the Flames in 2010-11.

    Babchuk is playing for Donbass of the KHL, and he is struggling. He has one goal and one assist in 17 games. He is also minus-five in the plus-minus ratings.

Jakub Kindl, Detroit Red Wings

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    Jakub Kindl is a Detroit Red Wings defenseman who played 55 games last year. When the regular season gets underway, he may be asked to play a much bigger role due to the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom

    Kindl is playing for Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga. He has five assists in 16 games and he has not scored a goal yet. He is also minus-seven in the plus-minus ratings.

Roman Polak, St. Louis Blues

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    Roman Polak is one of the toughest players on the St. Louis Blues. He is not an offensive threat, but he is defensively responsible and a hard hitter.

    Polak is playing for HC Vitkovice Steel of the Czech Extraliga. He has three assists in 11 games, and he has not scored a goal. That's not the problem. He is also minus-five in the plus-minus ratings.