The NHL lockout makes it difficult for league veterans to find a convenient place to play competitive professional hockey. Some stars opt for the Europe or Russia route (Kings captain Dustin Brown is playing in Zurich), while some do not participate in anything formal at all (superstar Sidney Crosby being the foremost example). Younger players can head down to the AHL for further seasoning.
Yet Devin Setoguchi, right-winger for the Minnesota Wild, is filling this void in an untraditional way. He has spent the last six weeks as a member of the Los Angeles Kings’ ECHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. Through 10 games, Setoguchi has 13 points (4G, 9A).
When he was a member of the San Jose Sharks, Setoguchi was frustrating to watch as a Kings fan. The Sharks teams of the last five or so years always seemed to have the Kings’ number, especially when they met in the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Setoguchi is infamous for this overtime goal in the pivotal Game 3 of that series, which capped off a dramatic 6-5 win after the Sharks had trailed 4-0.
It certainly struck me as strange to read that a player I once booed at STAPLES Center was suiting up for the Kings organization. But, this is what happens with a long lockout – players have to stay in game shape and maintain their on-ice skills. Old rivalries do not seem important anymore, once a player’s livelihood is challenged. Hopefully a season is salvaged and order can be restored soon.