Former great suggests NHL start over

Updated: October 31, 2004, 8:58 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Montreal Canadiens great Guy Lafleur thinks that the NHL is broken and that nothing short of starting over will fix it.

With the lockout entering its 42nd day and no end in sight, Lafleur says the league should declare bankruptcy and start over with no more than 24 teams.

He criticizes both management and the players for not trying to solve the financial problems of the league. The NHL is trying to control salary costs, and the players' union doesn't want a salary cap.

The two sides haven't met since Sept. 9, and there are no talks planned.

Lafleur says he can't understand why so many players have gone to Europe to play for a few hundred thousand dollars instead of settling for the millions they could make even under a cap.

Lafleur is worried that if the impasse isn't settled by December the season will be lost. If that happens, he's concerned that some fans won't return to the game.

'NHL Europe' tally reaches 231
Toronto's Nik Antropov, Philadelphia's Michal Handzus and Pittsburgh's Steve McKenna became the latest NHL players to head to Europe during the lockout.

The signings Wednesday brought the number of NHL players in Europe to 231, the International Ice Hockey Federation said. The Czech league leads the way with 53 of the NHL's 750 players. Sweden is next at 43 players, followed by Russia at 42.

Antropov joined Ak Bars Kazan in Russia. The center had 13 goals and 18 assists in 62 games with the Maple Leafs last season.

Handzus, a center, signed with Zvolen in his native Slovakia. He is coming off a year in which he had a career-high 58 points (20 goals, 38 assists) for the Flyers.

McKenna joined Nottingham in Britain. The enforcer had a goal and two assists and 85 penalty minutes in 49 games last season for the Penguins.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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