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Pavelec, Ponikarovsky sign deals to play in Europe

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Two members of the Winnipeg Jets have wasted no time in taking jobs in Europe.

Mere hours after the NHL locked out its players — with no new collective bargaining agreement in sight — forward Alexei Ponikarovsky and goalie Ondrej Pavelec have agreed to deals to play.

Ponikarovsky, a July 1 free-agent signing by the Jets, will be joining Donbass Donetsk of the KHL, a Russian paper reported today.

The team, based in Ukraine, also signed Philadelphia’s Ruslan Fedotenko.

Earlier today, agent Allan Walsh tweeted that his client Pavelec was going to play for HC Trinec in the Czech League.

Pavelec received a new five-year, $19.5-million contract from the Jets in late June, a deal that was followed a few weeks later by ample controversy when it became known the goalie had been convicted of driving under the influence. He received a suspended six-month prison term and a loss of his licence for 20 months.

The incident took place on May 26 and Pavelec pleaded guilty to the charge on June 12.

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