It’s understandable why the current NHL players flock overseas to play in the European and Russian leagues during the lockout. With no end in sight the players are booking their flights across the pond as an opportunity to stay in top game shape, along with the fact that practicing everyday back home would get a little monotonous.
But with playing abroad comes the risk of injury and that’s exactly what happened to the Minnesota Wild’s defenceman, Jared Spurgeon.
According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Spurgeon suffered what is being labelled as a tweaked groin and is back in Minneapolis to be re-evaluated by team doctors. The Edmonton, Alberta native signed on with the SCL Tigers of the Swiss Elite League and was the first of the Wild to sign elsewhere once the lockout was in place.
Russo reports that his source familiar with the situation claims the team does not believe the injury is serious and there is a chance that Spurgeon could return to Switzerland if the lockout is ongoing by the time he’s fully recovered.
While it’s positive that the team and Spurgeon are being extra cautious with the injury, as groin tweaks and pulls can cause further complications down the road, it brings up the question yet again as to whether or not it’s worth it to play in Europe during the lockout.
A while back we looked at the pros and cons of whether players should explore their options by playing elsewhere as the risk of injury doesn’t appear to out weigh the benefit of being in game shape. Of course this is only relevant if the lockout ends and the NHL regular season were to resume pronto, leaving the injured behind with a feeling of guilt and sorrow.
But in Spurgeon’s case the gamble may have paid off. He’s going to miss some game action due to the injury and with the lockout no where near over Spurgeon is likely to head back overseas to finish the season.
We know the paychecks aren’t the reason for these players signing to play elsewhere, so aside from staying in shape you can’t blame them for wanting to play for the simple reason of “for love of the game.” Something you can’t fault them for.
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