Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ovechkin Case Dismissed

Today, I picked Alexander Ovechkin as the leader in the Calder trophy race. This is not the only Ovechkin news today.

The was a court case pending where Moscow Dynamo claim they hold Ovechkin's rights and want him back in the Russian League. This case was thrown out today because of the tenuous claim Dynamo had to Ovechkin.

This summer, Ovechkin signed a three year contract with Avongard Omsk in the Russian League with an out clause should Ovechkin sign in the NHL. His previous Russian team, Dynamo Moscow, claimed to have matched the Omsk contract thus retaining Ovechkin's rights but without the NHL out clause. The paper trail supporting the Dynamo claim was found to be lacking.

Most likely, this case was filed (at least partially) to respond to the Alexander Semin case. Semin is a Washington Capital draftee who returned home to play in Russia during the lockout. Washington assigned him to play with their AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates, since he was on a two-way contract. Semin claimed he was locked out and could play wherever he wanted. Washington has been fining Semin for every day he is away. Washington is suing to have Semin returned (since he is signed to an NHL contract) and have the fines upheld.

This problem exists because there is no IIHF-NHL player transfer deal with Russia.

Likely, the courts have no right to force Semin to play in a league that he does not want to play in, with no player transfer deal. Also, likely the fines Washington wants to collect from Semin are not going to hold up in court. I think that they will rule that if Semin ever wishes to play in the NHL he will be held to the remainder of his current contract with the Washington Capitals, but if he choses to never play NHL again then Washington is out of luck.

Even countries that signed an NHL player transfer deal are not happy. The Czech's signed the deal but are unhappy that the New York Rangers are late making transfer payments for Petr Prucha.

Here is the TSN story on the Ovechkin case getting thrown out.

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