The Russian sports publication Sports-Express reported today that Andrei Loktionov has signed to play with Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL for the duration of the NHL lockout. That’s all well and good, except for the little fact that Loktionov technically isn’t locked out. Last week, the Kings assigned him to Manchester of the AHL. There wasn’t any option or choice involved; he was assigned.
Depending on the Kings’ feelings on this — thus far, they have declined comment — this could potentially get messy. The Kings might not have a problem with Loktionov playing in Russia and getting additional professional experience. If they’re not happy with the idea, though, they could certainly make the case that Loktionov is in violation of his contract. Based on what I can gather, the Kings are still in something of a wait-and-see mode on this one.
There are no such concerns about Anze Kopitar, who has indeed followed through on his thought to go play with his brother in Sweden during the lockout, as referenced here a couple days ago. The L.A. Times and ESPN.com have said Kopitar can start playing in Sweden shortly. As an officially locked-out player, Kopitar can basically play anywhere he chooses.