Jamie McBain is headed for Finland and Jeff Skinner back to Toronto, but both hope to be back in Raleigh soon.
McBain said today he had signed an open-ended contract to play for the Lahti Pelicans in Finland's SM-liiga. The defenseman said he leaves Monday and may play in Finland until the NHL lockout ends.
"Ideally, I'm only over there a week and I'll come back," McBain said. "Hopefully it's just to get a game or two in and come back.
"It's a win/win either way. Hopefully I'm coming back in a week or two weeks but it gives me a chance to get skating with a team, get a couple of games under my belt and hopefully be ready to come back and play here."
Skinner returned to Raleigh this week to take care of some personal business, skated a couple of times with some teammates at Raleigh Center Ice and said he was driving back to Toronto tomorrow.
Skinner was among the 28 players assigned to the Charlotte Checkers on Sept. 15, the day the NHL's CBA expired, but was given permission by the Canes to stay in Toronto and train on his own.
"Insurance is sort of an issue when you talk about going down to play (in the AHL)," Skinner said. "My agent (Rick Curran) is supposed to deal wth that sort of stuff. We felt, and obviously we still feel that the best thing for me to do right now is just take it day by day and see how (CBA) negotiations go and just continue to train and stay ready."
Skinner signed a six-year, $34.35 million extension with the Canes in August. Curran said uncertainty over the CBA negotiations and how it might affect guaranteed contracts led him to advise Skinner not to report to the Checkers despite assurances from Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford and the Hurricanes.
"Jeff wants to play and he'd like to play," Curran said. "But there are things beyond his control in the negotiations that mean he can't do it right now. I told Jeff that he shouldn't go and couldn't go, that it was the prudent decision.
"If you were talking about minimal dollars, it would be easy to say go ahead and insure. But we're talking about significant dollars, so you need to be cautious. There's no other choice. If you want to blame it on someone, blame it on me. Jeff wanted to play. It's disappointing for everyone."
Curran said he was not sure if Skinner would play overseas should the lockout continue. He noted the salaries in the European leagues are minimal for many NHL players, saying they barely cover the cost of insurance.
"The players just want to play hockey," Curran said.
That includes Skinner, who clearly is anxious and wants to play. For now, he'll continue his five-days-a-week workouts and his on-ice training three times a week in Toronto.
"I'll just stay ready and keep working out," he said.