Saturday, November 04, 2006

Isn't Ottawa Breaking The Agreement?

Because of the lack of a transfer agreement between Russia and the NHL, there is contreversy regarding several Russian players who left Russian contracts this summer to come to North America. There were some very unusual defections and other legal ploys used to get Russian players to the NHL. The player who had the most uneventful trip out of Russia this summer was Alexei Kaigorodov of the Ottawa Senators. There was an agreement between Ottawa and Metallurg Magnitogorsk that if Kaigorodov didn't make the NHL team he would go back to Russia. After six games with limited ice time, Ottawa sent Kaigorodov to the minors. Today, it is announced they are suspending him for refusing that assignment and planning to return to Russia instead. Wasn't that the agreement from day one? Isn't Ottawa in the wrong for suspending a player for upholding an agreement they made? Or was the plan that the Senators would doublecross the Russians and they are angry that Kaigorodov is too honest to be involved in this doublecross?

Here is the TSN story on the suspension by the Senators.

Terrific item and you're right. I remember it exactly that way.
Interesting, indeed. The Sens have really hurt relations with themselves and every Russian team by doing this. The Russian teams are already pissed at the NHL clubs and something like this just rattles the hornets nest even more.
There was some dispute as to whether this agreement was actually in place between the Senators and the Russian team. Bruce Garrioch (I believe) says there was no such agreement and some of the comments from John Muckler seem to back this up. It is possible that the agreement was between the Russian team and Kaigorodov as a condition for letting him leave. That would seem to make more sense and that would explain why he declined to go to Binghamton.
It doesn't make sense that the Russians in general and Metallurg Magnitogorsk in particular are fighting through the courts some of their players going to the NHL and they turn around and let Alexei Kaigorodov go no strings attached.

Obviously John Muckler (and the Ottawa media ... and the NHL ... and the NHL media) would like to deny their existence, but it was widely reported by the same media organizations in September. I do not believe them and if I was in their position I can see why they would want to spread these lies.
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