- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Owen Nolan has not given up on playing in the NHL.
The 38-year-old winger is slated to be on a plane headed to Switzerland on Thursday night. He's joining Zurich of the Swiss League in what he hopes is the first step in bringing him back to the NHL this season.
"I'm still eager to play," Nolan told ESPN.com Wednesday night. "I feel like I still have something in the tank and can help a team."
The plan is for him to play for Zurich for a month and "show that I can still play," Nolan said.
Nolan did not attend an NHL training camp so teams would likely have concerns since he hasn't played hockey since last season, when he put up 16 goals and 17 assists in 73 games with the Minnesota Wild. He's kept in good physical shape and skated every day in San Jose but he understands the need to show NHL teams he can play.
"You can sit around and self-train and but there's nothing like the competition of playing hockey so we felt it was a good move to go over there and stay in shape and stay competitive," said Nolan. "And hopefully I'll get that phone call that an NHL team wants me."
As per the collective bargaining agreement, Nolan would have to clear NHL waivers before joining any NHL team that would want to sign him.
"But I wouldn't imagine that teams would step in the way of a veteran player of his stature wanting to come back and play," his agent, J.P. Barry of CAA Sports, told ESPN.com Wednesday night. "I don't see that being a big deal."
Nolan has scored 16 or more goals in four straight seasons, including 25 two years ago in Minnesota.
"I feel I can still contribute to a team," said Nolan. "I'm still competitive. I still want to win. And I still enjoy playing the game. That's what is driving me."
Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.
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