Radulov suits up in KHL
Predators forward Alexander Radulov participated in his new Russian team's training camp Friday even though his contract was suspended by the International Ice Hockey Federation.Not a surprise. Off-season training begins much, much earlier overseas than in the NHL, and players like Jaromir Jagr and Ray Emery are likely to already be in camps.
Continental Hockey League President Alexander Medvedev said the international federation can't keep Radulov off the ice during domestic competition or camp.
All this is is confirmation that Radulov fully expects to play in Ufa this season.
As for those that believed the NHL will allow him to slink into the night, think again:
"We have made it very, very clear that if Radulov isn't returned, if his contract isn't voided and he isn't returned to Nashville, we have no interest in sitting down at the table, no interest in cooperating, no interest in doing anything with the KHL," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press.What that would mean, naturally, is that the informal agreement between the two sides — which remains unsigned — will go out the window entirely, and players in both leagues will be up for grabs.
That's a better situation for the KHL than the NHL due to the fact the North American league has some 700-plus players under contract that could potentially be vulnerable. Far fewer Russian league players under contract are going to be of interest to NHL teams.
Radulov's the keystone here — he's the one to watch. The NHL knows that if he's allowed to play for the KHL while under contract with Nashville it potentially opens the door to other shenanigans. The Russian side, meanwhile, is aiming to gain as much leverage as possible from the fact they have him under contract and willing to defect.
In the KHL's perfect world, immense transfer fees would be paid to club teams for young Russian players, something the NHL's obviously trying to avoid.
No one can force the two sides to come to any sort of agreement, which leads me to believe that the NHL will head into 2008-09 without one — and without one of its burgeoning young stars.
The Columbus Dispatch and the New York Times' hockey blog Slap Shot have more.