Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

October 3, 2012

Sabres exploring options as lockout drags on

Enroth to play in Sweden

AMHERST — A deal had finally been reached. After two weeks of prodding from his friend, locked-out Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth agreed he would play one game for a local pizzeria’s beer league team.

On Tuesday, an excited Enroth announced the “one-game contract” to his more than 20,000 Twitter followers.

“Debut is tomorrow at 10 pm at Buff State,” he wrote.

Enroth tweeted again about an hour later.

“Alright. Agent just called. No game with La Nova tomorrow,” he wrote.

Playing with no insurance would be too risky.

“My agent called me like 20 minutes after I tweeted that and said, ‘No go,’” Enroth said Wednesday after skating with eight other Sabres inside the Northtown Center.

Enroth should be playing real games soon, however. The 24-year-old’s returning home to Sweden on Friday and could have a contract with a club as soon as next week, he said.

He’s hoping to play in the Swedish Elite League, which he rates No. 3 in the world behind the NHL and KHL.

“If I would go back and play for that league, it would be awesome,” said Enroth, who played in the SEL before coming to North America in 2008. “It would be great to play there during a lockout.”

But is Enroth really excited about the experience?

“Not really,” he acknowledged. “I wish we were playing (NHL games). But it’s going to be nice to go home, see your friends and family like that. I’m excited for that.”

There’s little genuine excitement from any NHL players these days. With the lockout 19 days old and opening night coming up next week, everyone’s bracing for the worst.

“I think you might see games started getting canceled and a lot of money being lost for everyone,” Sabres captain Jason Pominville said.

Whether it’s this week or next, games will be deleted from the schedule. Zero progress has been made during the brief collective bargaining agreement talks. A war of words keeps intensifying. The situation is becoming toxic, some close observers have said.

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