As the NHL and NHLPA spent Wednesday at a secret location in New York for a second straight day of marathon talks, there once again was little that hockey fans could do except watch, wait, hope, and look for any signs of progress—or lack thereof.
Shortly after the league and union adjourned for the evening, with media contact limited to a two-sentence statement from union chief Donald Fehr acknowledging that talks had taken place and would continue Thursday, one of those signs came into view. Sporting News learned that Dustin Brown, the captain of the Stanley Cup champion Kings, made his flight from Los Angeles to Switzerland, where he has signed with the Zurich Lions through the end of a lockout that extends into its 54th day.
A possibility had existed that significant progress in New York might have kept Brown at home, but off to Europe he went, on a day that began with Philadelphia Flyers winger Max Talbot signing in Finland with the club Ilves and Montreal Canadiens center Scott Gomez joining the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.
The continued exodus of NHL talent to other leagues around the world may not necessarily be a sign of doom, but it certainly is nothing to celebrate.