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MVP St. Louis joins NHL players in Europe

Nov. 5, 2004 at 3:51 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Tampa Bay Lightning star Martin St. Louis has joined National Hockey League players to sign with a European team during the NHL lockout.

St. Louis, the league's MVP last season, signed a deal with Lausanne of the Swiss League Friday, a day after his teammate, Vincent Lecavalier, joined a Russian team.

About 250 NHL players have joined European teams because of the lockout. They are signing deals that will let them rejoin their NHL teams if the lockout ends and play resumes.

The NHL locked out the players Sept. 15 when their old collective bargaining agreement expired. Negotiators for the league and players union have not met for nearly two months.

The major issue is a salary cap. The league wants one, the players don't.

The NHL season is "likely to slip away," Commissioner Gary Bettman said this week.

"As long as the owners keep pushing a salary cap, no, I can't see us playing this season," Lecavalier told the St. Petersburg Times. "We are not going to accept it. No way."

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