Throughout the autumn, the Boston College finance major has been actively involved in the negotiations and has been holding out hope that a deal would happen. But this week Schneider has changed course and signed with HC Ambri-Piotta of the Swiss League. He could play his first game of the year as early as Saturday. Schneider is a dual U.S.-Swiss citizen, so the team was able to sign him as a non-import player.
Shortly before the announcement, Schneider made it clear to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun that he felt he needed some game action sooner rather than later:
I play hockey for a living. At some point, I really want to play hockey, whether it's here or abroad. I think it's more important for my career going forward to stay sharp and stay prepared and get games in because 18 months without game action is not a good thing for a goalie, or for anybody for that matter.
Before Schneider's departure, the Canucks' presence in Europe was relatively quiet. Many of the players chose to stay in Vancouver and practice regularly, hoping the lockout would be resolved quickly.
Dale Weise was the first to accept the challenge, signing with the DESTIL Trappers of Tilburg, Netherlands in the Dutch Eredivisie on October 12. Wearing number 88, the grinder is logging much more ice time than he would in the NHL and potting about two points a game so far. Weise has eight goals and 15 assists through November 29, including a six-point game against Eindhoven Kemphanen back on October 21.
The Vancouver Sun's blog Pass It To Bulis has a good story on Weise's adventure, with an entertaining video of his early experiences on and off the ice in the Netherlands.
On October 30, Jannik Hansen became the second Canuck to fly away when he signed with Tappara Tampere of the Finnish Elite League. Hansen told news1130.com that one of his motivations for signing was to make sure he was in game shape for Olympic qualifying for his home country, Denmark, if the lockout drags on.
Through November 29, Hansen has logged 10 points in nine games for Tappara.
Brad Ziemer also checked in with Canucks Assistant General Manager Laurence Gilman on his return from a scouting trip to Sweden. Gilman provided updates on a few Canuck prospects, including blue-chipper Nicklas Jensen:
His team is not playing that great, but he is playing on their second line. He is getting some power-play time, he is playing in all kinds of situations whether they are up a goal or down a goal. He's averaging 16 and a half to 17 minutes a game and he is playing in a league with men. So that's pretty good.
So far, the 19-year-old has 12 points in 24 games with AIK.
As for the other Canucks, so far they seem to be biding their time. On November 15, Ben Kuzma of The Province reported that the Sedins would head home to Sweden to play with Modo only if the NHL cancels the entire season. Daniel and Henrik both have children in school in Vancouver. On the bright side, Daniel says he has been symptom-free after he was sidelined with a concussion near the end of last season:
I’ve had nothing, no symptoms. I took a few weeks off after the season and started training again. You worry about the first few workouts, but everything has been fine. I’m doing the same things that I did before [the concussion] and that was the bottom line.
The Doomsday clock continues to tick down on the 2012-13 NHL season. Will Daniel's next pro hockey game be in Vancouver or in Örnsköldsvik? Who will be the next Canuck to head to Europe?
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