The NHL lockout continues and the Capitals have lost another player to Europe. Forward Marcus Johansson signed with BIK Karlskoga on Tuesday, according to multiple Swedish-language media reports. He becomes the sixth Washington player to sign with a team in Europe as the lockout enters its seventh week. As of Tuesday evening, there were still no talks scheduled between NHL owners and the NHL Players' Association. In fact, it is expected that later this week the league will cancel plans to hold its annual Winter Classic event, which this year is set for New Year's Day in Detroit between the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.
So Johansson signed a short-term contract with Karlskoga, a team in the Swedish second division, the Allsvenskan. Johansson, 22, had 14 goals and 32 assists last season and played 80 games in his second NHL season. He was a first-round pick by the Caps in 2009.
Johansson joins five of his teammates in Europe. Both Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are playing for the same team in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Dynamo Moscow. Forward Wojtek Wolski, acquired by Washington over the summer as a free agent, is playing for KH Sanok in Poland. Wolski was born in the country before emigrating to Canada as a boy. Forward Brooks Laich signed with the Kloten Flyers in the top league in Switzerland, National League A. Goalie Michal Neuvirth returned home to play for HC Sparta Praha in the Czech Extraliga. Two other players expected to make the Caps' final roster -- goalie Braden Holtby and defenseman Dmitry Orlov -- are currently playing for the Hershey Bears, the club's top farm team in the American Hockey League.
- Brian McNally