European hockey teams bracing for NHL lockout to end within next week, according to agent

Say, do you like desperately clinging to any semblance of hope that the NHL lockout might be nearing its final stages? Sure, we all do!

Gareth Chalmers is an agent in the U.K. and the owner of 9 Hockey Management. On his Twitter feed Wednesday, he wrote about some conversations he's had with teams in Europe about the locked-out NHL players on their rosters and … well, try not to get your hopes too high.

"I have been talking to a number of teams on the continent today who have NHL guys on their rosters. It seems that quite a few of them have been told by their NHL agents today, to get ready to return within the next week. One GM told me today that a contact of his in the NHL had advised that they are now looking at 2nd January restart."

Deep breaths, people.

More Chalmers:

"It seems to be circulating around Europe as I've noticed a sudden increase of teams today looking for new imports. A number of European teams have some big holes to fill if the NHL does restart, some have invested heavily. Once the NHL lockout finishes, this is when we'll see the true effects. Teams may struggle to find the calibre of player they want.

"Mind [you] I am in agreement with people, I'll believe it when we actually see NHL teams take to the ice for 2012/13."

Spoken like someone that's gotten his hopes up in the last few months only to see them crushed by avarice, politics and/or ego. Much like our hopes are up reading this and hearing other rumblings this week.

Much like, we're sure, they'll be crushed again (though hopefully not).

One more interesting Euro hockey tidbit from Chalmers:

"In the short term having NHL players in Europe has been massive for a lot of teams in terms of revenue and exposure. One team I visited in Europe during November, said they'd generated enough revenue to pay his insurance three times over! They also said they'd had more exposure from one NHL player than they'd had for the team during the previous 10 years."

Congrats, BizNasty. We'll just go ahead and assume it's you.

s/t Owen Bradley.