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Coyotes’ Korpikoski, Klesla, Vrbata return from Europe, wait to see if season’s saved

Dec 21, 2012, 4:48 PM EDT

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Lauri Korpikoski #28 of the Phoenix Coyotes moves the puck in front of Matt Greene #2 of the Los Angeles Kings in the first period in Game Three of the Western Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
(May 16, 2012 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The Phoenix Coyotes’ Lauri Korpikoski, Rusty Klesla, and Radim Vrbata all have enjoyed stints in Europe over the course of the lockout, but they’re back in Arizona now, waiting to see what happens next, according to an Arizona Republic report.

“I’m still positive. I still think there’ll be a season,” Vrbata said.

Rusty Klesla is equally hopeful, adding that the chance of the lockout ending is the reason that he returned.

Although locked-out NHL players’ experiences in Europe have varied widely, Korpikoski, Klesla, and Vrbata were upbeat about their stints. Even Vrbata felt the overall experience was good, despite being limited to just two games due to bruised ribs.

Each of them might end up returning to their respective European teams and leagues, but they aren’t likely to come to a decision soon. The players and owners have until mid-January to reach an agreement if the season is to be saved.

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