NHL cancels preseason games for September

Doug Weight speaks to the media during a

Doug Weight speaks to the media during a press conference announcing his retirement from the NHL at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, 2011

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The NHL canceled all preseason games for September Wednesday as the lockout reached its fourth day without scheduled negotiations between representatives for the owners and players. Also reportedly in jeopardy is the Islanders' Oct. 2 preseason game with the Devils at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league has "no set policy on cancellations" of other games.

The Islanders' two canceled preseason games are Sept. 27 against the Edmonton Oilers at Evraz Place in Regina, Saskatchewan, and Sept. 30 against the Ottawa Senators at the Barrie Molson Centre in Ontario. The Rangers lost three preseason games, Sept. 26 in Albany against the Devils, Sept. 28 against the Devils in Newark and Sept. 29 against the Flyers in Philadelphia.

The Islanders held their annual charity golf outing Wednesday at Bethpage Black, but no players on the NHL roster participated. Former Islanders captain Doug Weight, now an assistant coach and special adviser to general manger Garth Snow, attended the event.

Weight lost a reported $5.7 million when the league locked out the players for the entire 2004-2005 season.

"I don't believe you can be bitter,'' he said of that season. "It was probably one of my highest paid years and I lost that, then you lose 24 percent on the last two years of your deal and you do come out of there two or three years later feeling 'what did we do that for?'

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"But I have faith in the leadership of both sides and the direction of this game and the intelligence of the people making these decisions. I really do trust them. I've learned a lot over the years. I think it's going to get done. I'm a believer and optimist maybe, but sooner than later hopefully as we see damage being done we can get this thing figured out. We're certainly chomping at the bit as Islanders to prove to some people that we can be a top team in this league. Camps are supposed to open, the doors are locked, it's never a good sign. I don't really expect it to be too long . . . I think there's a deal out there to be made and it's going to be beneficial to both sides.''

Before the lockout, the Islanders sent 19 players to Bridgeport, including highly regarded goaltender prospect Kevin Poulin, who said he is recovered from surgery on his left knee that ended his season last February. "I was expecting to go to NHL camp,'' said Poulin, one of several Bridgeport players at the outing. "But since the lockout and no agreement, which is pretty disappointing, at least I have someplace to play. I'm pretty happy about that.''

He has spoken to his NHL teammates about the conflict. "We all hope for a short one, that's for sure,'' he said.

Snow, who did not comment on the lockout, said he still has plenty of duties. "There's our team in Bridgeport, a lot of high quality prospects that are going to have a big future here,'' he said. "The amateur scouting still presses on and preparing for 2013 draft. So, there's a lot of things that need to be done on a day-to-day basis to help get our team get to the next level.''

Ovechkin goes to Russia.Alexander Ovechkin is returning to his former Russian team, Dynamo Moscow, during the NHL lockout. The KHL team said in a statement Wednesday that it has signed the Washington Capitals star to a contract that lasts until the lockout ends. It said Ovechkin already has participated in training. It did not disclose the financial terms of his contract. He is the latest Russian star to return home during the lockout. Evgeny Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins signed a deal with his former team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He was joined by the Ottawa Senators' Sergei Gonchar and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs. -- AP

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