Ah those crazy Ruskies. They’ll do anything to make Gary Bettman cry tears of impotent rage.
The other day, Alexander Radulov was introduced (click for moon language) by his new team Ufa-based Salavat Yulaev, in a press conference. Just to rub salt in the NHL’s wounds, the Russian press has delighted in refering to Radulov as an “ex-Nashville player.”
At the press conference, Radulov said he “gladly accepted” Ufa’s offer to get out of the United States (if I’m reading Russian correctly, that is).
According to the New York Times’ Slap Shot blog, which has been nice enough to link to this fledgling blog a few times, Salavat Yulaev has a team budget of about 620 million rubles, or roughly $26.5 million, less than half of the NHL salary cap. With the contracts some of these teams are giving out, that figure is in the top four in all of the KHL.
Meanwhile, Radulov and Ufa are still under IIHF investigation, not that that matters much to any parties involved. The NHL is still hoping the KHL will magically void the contract.
“We continue to expect the KHL and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation to take a position and refuse to aid and abet a blatant breach of contract which, through their inaction to date, they have now become party to,” Daly said via e-mail.
The IIHF will come to an agreement by “mid-August.” Ask Mats Sundin about deadlines like that. The IIHF could rule that if Radulov was improperly signed by Ufa (he was), that the player or team is not eligible for the Champions League. Further, if Radulov is ruled to be in violation, he and Russia could be banned from IIHF events for an undertermined amount of time.
Is Alexander Radulov, good though he may be, really worth this kind of headache?