Saturday, July 11, 2009

Prospect Camp

Very exciting time this afternoon at the Ice Forum in Duluth. The Chronicle/Outsider confab before interview time was enjoyable, as always. The official Outsider interviewee was John Albert, picked by Atlanta in the 6th round of the 2007 entry draft and currently with the Ohio State University. A HUGE thanks to John for putting up with a rookie interviewer. Hopefully, we'll have a transcript up by Monday. Also, big thanks to the Thrashers organization (Ben Wright, et al) for putting this thing together, and to the other Thrashers bloggers, it was good to put names with faces.

Meanwhile, please head to Thrashing About for our "media scrum" with Evander Kane. Truly a team effort. Big up, Thrasher bloggers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hudler is the New Kiwi

But first, some things I've been a little remiss with:

- Thanks to Rawhide for the mention on Wednesday. Cross-promotion, grassroots, yes.

- I will be attending the prospect camp media availability on Saturday; I'd ask for questions, but both Laura and teh Chronicle staff are much more on the ball than I. If you DO have questions not posted elsewhere, feel free to leave them in the comments, or I may have to resort to queries of:

"So... you play... hockey...'s that working out for ya?"

Trust me, it won't be pretty.

Now on to new business:

We just got done with that whole Kiwi/KHL nastiness, and now we have another intercontinental mess on our hands. From Dreger @ TSN:

Jiri Hudler remains property of the Detroit Red Wings and therefore the recent contract he signed in the KHL is being contested.

The National Hockey League has approached both the IIHF and KHL, seeking their intervention.

According to the NHL, Hudler is contractually obligated to the Red Wings for next season.

Hudler, a restricted free agent filed for salary arbitration, which in the eyes of the league is acknowledgment of his intent to play in the NHL next year.

Now, there has been some confusion of late as to the exact nature of the relationship between the NHL, the KHL and the IIHF (as illustrated by a somewhat unplesant commenter in Rawhide's corner of the world). Let's try to clear it up. As noted by our boy Andre, the, the NHL IS NOT a member of the IIHF. But as noted by Mr. Dreger, the KHL IS a member of the IIHF, and any player wishing to join the KHL would need an IIHF International Transfer Card (ITC). Hudler's case normally wouldn't be a problem: he saw a greater opportunity for ice time over there (not to mention more tax-free dollars), and he went for it. However, Hudler had already set in motion the process of salary arbitration: a very arduous and time-consuming undertaking. The NHL apparently to this to mean Hudler was going to play over year this coming season - after all, if a player is going to subject himself to arbitration, why not make it worth it?

Hudler signed his Dynamo Moscow contract Thursday, July 8th. The player-elected arbitration request deadline was Sunday, July 5th. Unless Dyanamo Moscow swooped in last minute with a contract all ready to sign (some Kiwi Karma, perhaps?), it looks like Hudler has been burning the candle at both ends - something that (I'm guessing) won't sit very well with GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock. But (unlike the Radulov situation) it looks like the NHL may have some recourse. Alex Radulov was under contract with the Nashville Preadtors when he "defected" for the KHL. A quick Google search turned up another player who took off to the KHL, and the IIHL (in its infinite quest for justice) ADMONISHED the KHL, but declined to levy sanctions. This was back in November of 2008, just after Radulov "defected." In May 2009 , the IIHF set forth its International Transfer Regulations, which outline possible discipline for a "poached" player still under contract:

1.3 The disciplinary measures which can be applied by the IIHF Disciplinary Committee include, but are not limited to:

  • Caution
  • Censure
  • Fine
  • Suspension for international and/or national games/competitions

1.4 When a player plays without a valid transfer card the following shall apply:
- The IIHF General Secretary shall sanction the new Member National Association of the player with a fine of CHF 5000.- and request the Member National Association to advise the club that the player has to stop playing until provided with an ITC.

- Should the player continue to play without an ITC, the matter will be submitted to the IIHF Disciplinary Committee. The following sanctions shall be applied by the IIHF Disciplinary Committee:

  • Member National Association: Fine of minimum CHF 5’000.- and up to CHF 150’000.- (maximum) per game the player played without ITC since the IIHF General Secretary’s intervention.
  • Club: Ban on international transfers (during international transfer period) of minimum 3 months and up to 24 months (maximum).
  • Player: Suspension form IIHF Competitions for minimum 1 year and up to 3 years (maximum).
But is a player in arbitration considered to be under contract? The IIHF defines under contract thusly:

1 Definition of “Player Contract”
A player under contract is a player who has concluded a written contract with an ice hockey club (signed by the player and the club) according to which he is compensated for taking part in matches or training sessions or both. Contracts concluded between clubs and players must be of a specific duration.
2 Termination of Player Contracts
2.1 A player contract may be terminated (a) upon expiry of the term of the contract, (b) by mutual agreement, or (c) where there is a just cause.
2.2 Any contract provisions for early termination are considered to be mutually agreed upon.
2.3 Any other termination shall be considered as a breach of contract.
According to my reading of the CBA, a player electing arbitration has to accept the award given by the arbitrator (as part of crappy teams being able to hang on to their prospects a little longer). Wouldn't that mean Hudler is still under contract to the Wings?

I don't know, I'm asking.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Kovy Wars

Let me just go ahead and add Rory Boylens to the list of Good Hockey People.

After writing and article entitled "Thrashers shouldn't put Kovalchuk ahead of the team"*, and the ensuing rebuttal from the Chronicle Staff, Rory drops himself directly in the line of fire by engaging a full 2/3rds of the Thrashers' fan base** in the comment section.

Good work, Rory.

*Which is well written, but based on a flawed premise.
**We got jokes.

The Kiwi Wars

From (via Kukla's):
Canadian Joel Kwiatkowski has agreed to join the Atlanta Thrashers next season despite having already signed a two-year deal to play for SKA St Petersburg.

This is the first such precedent after the International Ice Hockey Federation introduced its new rules concerning player transfers. The move was dubbed “a non-aggression to Northern America pact” as it banned clubs in Europe from signing North American players on contract. In return, the NHL promised not to poach European players under contract.

The KHL says that breaks a gentleman’s agreement between the two leagues.

The funniest part of the article (other than the inevitable jabs at the Thrashers not being an NHL team; har har, get back to yer Zubaz an' Natty Light, fellas), is this little ditty at the end:
This episode is feared to spark a tit-for-tat response from KHL clubs, and will see them snap-up NHL stars, even if they've signed deals to play in North America.
Okay, first of all, over Joel Kwiatkowski? Look, I'm as much of a Kiwi fan as the next guy, but we're not talking Alex Ovechkin here; we're not even talking Alex Radulov. There are other guys that could fill the role here in Atlanta languishing on the FA market.

Secondly, with 7 D, we're almost solid for this year (at least as far as body count goes). If I'm a coach/GM looking to introduce some competition for jobs, bringing back guys like Kiwi doesn't really make a ton of sense. Unless I'm stocking the Chicago pond for injury backup - then having a solid defenseman that is familiar with the system would be a bonus.

But not enough of a bonus to pick a fight with the KHL.


EDIT, 5:44PM -

From Dimitri Chesnokov:
Re Kwiatkowski; the player may have misrepresented his status to the Thrashers, because he acted without an agent, according to sources.


Monday, July 6, 2009


Just some quick-hit blathering hockey thoughts on an all-too-hot Georgia afternoon:

I Love Stan Fischler. Seriously, you should really check out his Twitter feed. Some examples:
- Don't know all the details on Al Kovalev's failure to please the Habs. But he still has the goods. I'd take him for the right price.

- Here's an interesting candidate for comeback g.m. of the year. How about my buddy, Don Waddell. He's en route to securing Ilya Kovalchuk.

- Why the fuss over Dan
(sic) Brashear (to the Rangers? All's fair in love and war and we all know the NHL is a war game on ice.

- I LOVE when John Tortorella tells his Rangers that they should appreciate the comfortable manner in which they're treated. Torts gets it!
It doesn't really hurt that this is how I hear it in my head:

Speaking of Kovy:
Andy Strickland reports negotiations have begun.

I made the papers. Sorta.

Pronger to Flyers?
Yea, this'll end well. They're gonna be more watched than the series finale of LOST.

Yes, I have been waiting to use that one. No, it may not have been worth it.

Grudge Match Outside the Aud!
A Sabres fan named Vance takes Scott Burnside to task on some crap he wrote. Not that I have anything against Burnsie, just a fun read. Hey, someone should give ye olde internete smackdown to someone in Columbus. Maybe someone who's name rhymes with Aaron Portzline. Oh, wait.

It's just too friggin hot.