I’m always behind in reading ESPN the Magazine. In fact, I usually finish one and get the new one like a day later. So this is a little late, but the magazine had a cool update on first-round bust Alexandre Daigle. It’s a nice article, but the gist of it is that he’s very happy playing in the Swiss League, a lower-level European league.
Daigle was never a good fit for the NHL, in that he had the weight of the world on his shoulders but no strong to desire to meet anyone’s expectations. Playing in the Swiss League, living in a great city and playing on a huge sheet of ice, seems to suit Daigle.
And I think word is getting around about how nice it can be not playing in the NHL. Backup Islanders goalie Wade Dubielewicz is going to play for AK Kazan in the Russian Continental League. I have no idea if it’s as nice as living in Davos, Switzerland, but he seems to be getting more money than he would have gotten in the NHL.
Dubielewicz isn’t the only NHLer drawing European interest. Omsk of the Russian Super League is supposedly offering Jaromir Jagr huge money.
European hockey is such an interesting thing. It’s drawing a mix of people who couldn’t cut it in the NHL, people who didn’t want to cut it in the NHL, and seemingly more and more, NHLers who want a great role (Dubielewicz probably would have only started in the NHL had a number one goalie imploded or been injured) and a good salary.
Also, I like the teams who are already talking about not signing any free agents in July. There’s not even a pretense of going after anyone in Dallas or on Long Island. I respect their honesty. I hate teams getting fans hopes up.