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Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks faces off against Boyd Gordon #15 of the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on March 10, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 3-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SAN JOSE -- Sharks center Joe Thornton will be playing back hockey in Switzerland soon and teammate Logan Couture may be heading in the same direction.

Thornton, who met his wife while playing for Davos during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, confirmed Monday that it was the logical move to go back with her and their daughter while the league sorts out its labor problems.

"It sucks leaving here, but I've still got to play," Thornton said, indicating he likely would be heading to Europe by the end of the week.

Couture, who led the Sharks with 31 goals last season, confirmed that he is close to signing a deal with Geneva, which means the two would likely face each other in games this season if the lockout drags on.

In Davos, Thornton will be reunited with left wing Rick Nash, now of the New York Rangers. The two were linemates eight years ago and formed a strong friendship that kept San Jose in the hunt for Nash's services when he asked to be traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this year.

Couture, who led the Sharks with 32 goals last season, is talking with Geneva in the same league where San Jose captain Joe Thornton played during the 2004-05 lockout.

The NHL officially locked its players out at 9 p.m. PDT Saturday and no further bargaining sessions with the NHL Players Association are scheduled.

  • The Sharks announced Monday that 16 players who normally would have been in rookie training camp this week have been sent to Worcester of the AHL.


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    Those heading to San Jose's top development team are forwards Curt Gogol, Freddie Hamilton, Bracken Kearns, James Livingston, Jon Matsumoto, Travis Oleksuk, Brodie Reid, Sebastian Stalberg; defensemen Sena Acolatse, Taylor Doherty, Danny Groulx, Matt Irwin, and Matt Tennyson; and goaltenders Thomas Heemskerk, Harri Sateri, and Alex Stalock.

  • In an open letter posted on the Sharks web site, the team told fans "we appreciate your patience and ask that you continue to bear with us. We sincerely thank you for your support over the years — and moving forward."

    For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks.