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.