Thornton signs with Swiss club - Sorry I was sworn to secrecy last week !
- 90% chance of no season made the smart players think and take
Thornton signs with Swiss club
By BILL BEACON -- The Canadian Press
Boston Bruins captain Joe Thornton has signed to play for H.C.
Davos of the Swiss Elite league next season, but that doesn't
necessarily mean the all-star forward is headed to Europe.
Terms of the contract were not released.
Thornton, a restricted free agent, can opt out of the European
contract if the NHL resumes next season and also if he can agree to
terms with an NHL club, his agent J.P. Barry said in an interview.
That club would probably be Boston, given the limited movement of
restricted free agents.
"We're very happy for Joe," Barry said in the statement. "As we are
all aware, there may not be NHL hockey next season and this
agreement will allow Joe to play hockey at the highest level in a
unique environment that he may not otherwise have experienced."
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to play with Davos,"
Thornton added in the statement.
The Bruins made a qualifying offer to Thornton before he became a
restricted free agent on July 1 to retain his NHL rights.
However, a report last week said the London, Ont., native was
unhappy with the exodus of unrestricted free agents from the Bruins
and had asked for a trade. Bruins GM Mike O'Connell declined to
comment on Thornton's signing.
Earlier Thursday, centre Brian Rolston left Boston to sign with the
Minnesota Wild. Thornton's linemate Mike Knuble has already jumped
to Philadelphia and defenceman Sean O'Donnell signed with Phoenix.
The Bruins' other unrestricted free agents -- Glen Murray, Michael
Nylander, Travis Green and Dan McGillis -- may follow.
Thornton, a three-time all-star, led Boston last season with 23
goals and 50 assists in 77 games. He was also named to Canada's team
for the 2004 World Cup of hockey.
He struggled in the post-season with a severe rib injury as Boston
was upset by Montreal in the first round.
Davos is one of Switzerland's top clubs. It is known for playing
host to the annual Spengler Cup tournament in December.
Thornton will likely not be the only NHL player to sign in Europe
as Sergei Gonchar, also a restricted free agent with the Bruins, is
believed to be speaking to a Russian league team.
Edmonton Oilers forward Mike York recently signed with a German
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