Thursday, August 24, 2006



There's a number of interesting elements in this CP story discussing the NHL and Russia.

First, as foreseen quite accurately by Colby Cosh, while the SuperLeague isn't yet challenging the NHL for hockey supremacy, it's certainly a legitimate alternative for a large class of players:
Mark Gandler, the agent who represents those players [Artukhin, Grebeshkov, & Bergenheim], says Russia is an attractive option for "young, vibrant talent which is not properly treated (by NHL teams)."

[...]"In Russia the taxes are 13 per cent, so it's relatively speaking tax-free," explained Gandler, whose firm International Sports Advisors has some 25 NHL players, half of them Russian. "They also usually have bonuses on top of everything, a free apartment, a free car, basically perks."

Second, this line [my emphasis] is tossed in like it's the most obvious thing in the world (which it is, but I didn't realize it had reached the status of Commonly Accepted Statement of Fact):
Zherdev is the only first-line player among them. The others find themselves squeezed in the NHL's salary cap system where most of the money goes to the marquee names.

No surprise there. And third, we have a little snapshot of the New Era on Long Island. I'm sure you'll all be as stunned as I was at the contrast described here:
Gandler confirmed [Lightning GM Jay] Feaster's version of the contract talks.

"They've negotiated in good faith and I have no problems with Jay whatsoever," said Gandler. "We have a difference of opinion on the value of the player."

[...] Gandler felt the Islanders disrespected Bergenheim in contract talks.

"Just the way he was treated by the team and spoken to... and I have to include myself in that..."

Way to operate outside the box, Wang. Whatever you think of Gandler, the guy is all business -- I don't know why any organization would think it clever to play games with him.

Instant Update: Mudcrutch looks at the same story. He also notes another contrast between the Lightning and Islanders -- where Snow looks good and Feaster looks bad -- in the aftermath of negotiations.


Funny thing about the whole RSL/NHL conflict is what Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is doing. Yaroslavl is currently planning legal action against the Oilers and Flames should Mikhnov and Taratukhin sign, respectively. However, as the TSN article on the conflict states, Yaroslavl is in the process of signing 3 NHL RFAs. Though there is obviously a difference between prospects and RFAs, I thought that was good for a chuckle. It's hard to see their case going anywhere beneficial for them.

I think the difference is that the russian players are currently under contract... the nhlers are not.

According to Darren Dreger, the NHL isn't interested in talking to the Russians unless they want to discuss Malkin and get things settled, presumably without three teams getting sued.

I don't know if you read the 'sidearm delivery' blog, Matt. But he has some interesting stuff on the RSL/NHL subject as well, specifically the Malkin situation and the otheres in the same boat. The articles he quotes (from I lawyer in Moscow) paints a different picture than I had read elsewhere. It sounds there like the RSL teams really don't havew a leg to stand on. Some interesting estimates on the cost of developing a hockey player in Russia as well, though they're surely erring on the high side I would think.

Personally, I think that the fact that the RSL is able to successfully bid for the services of some NHL players is a good thing. Gives the young RFAs some leverage and some options. Hell, with the cap system in place as it is now ... I'd like to see the NHL abandon the draft and let every player be an unrestricted free agent right from day 1. Though I suspect that I'm alone in that opinion.

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