Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The abitrator has until Saturday afternoon to make a decision, following Thursday’s arbitration hearing between the Red Wings and Jiri Hudler’s agent. Even so, it appears that Hudler will head to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) afterall.
The NHL filed a complaint with the IIHF soon after Hudler signed his two-year, $10-million deal (tax free) with a KHL team in early July. The NHL believes the KHL contract is ineligible since Hudler signed it after filing for arbitration. As a result, the KHL had agreed to withhold registering the contract until the results of the arbitration hearing. That went out the window on Thursday when the KHL announced they had registered the contract, seemingly hours before the start of the hearing.
James Mirtle provides the KHL’s reasoning for registering the contract via a press release:
- Absence of Agreement or any other type of arrangement between the KHL and the NHL regarding transfers of players who are under status of restricted free agents
- Absence of valid contract of Jiri Hudler with any NHL club
- Prohibition from the NHL management to the Detroit Red Wings to negotiate with HC Dynamo Moscow on the rights for Jiri Hudler
- To register the contract of player Jiri Hudler with Dynamo Moscow on July 30, 2009, without dependence of the results of hearings at NHL arbitration on his case. Hudler has the right to make his own choice in which league he will play
The Detroit Free Press contacted the NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly via e-mail about the move by the KHL:
“I don’t think it signals any change in the status quo that has existed for a number of years now. The fact of the matter is that the NHL respects the terms of individual player contracts in other leagues. The KHL has chosen not to respect NHL contracts.” …
“We will be consulting with the Red Wings to determine how best to proceed from here,” Daly wrote.
Whatever one-year or two-year deal the arbitrator awards is what Jiri Hudler will have to abide by upon return to the NHL assuming the Red Wings do not walk away from the contract. The Wings are expected to abide by the arbitrator decision. GM Ken Holland told MLive.com that he expects Hudler to play in Russia this season.
In Other News
- DRW.com has a look at how Kirk Maltby, Dan Cleary, and Holland performed at the Pure Michigan’s Buick Open Pro-Am on Wednesday. You can catch some amusing golf-goofs in a video also posted on the website.
- Craig Custance of the Sporting News reported on Wednesday that the Red Wings have offered Jason Williams a one-year deal. The former Wing will mull over the offer as well as offers from other NHL teams and KHL teams. As of Thursday, Williams had yet to receive an offer from the Columbus Blue Jackets where he played last season. The Detroit News spoke with Holland about this report and he said, “We’ve talked, and I’ll leave it at that.” Williams told MLive.com that former Wing Brendan Shanahan advised him to return to a hockey market like Detroit.
- In addition to Williams the Red Wings are interested in other forwards, including Todd Bertuzzi (ex-Wing) and Vaclav Prospal, who was recently bought out by Tampa Bay, per the Detroit Free Press. Once the Hudler situation is finalized, the Wings will finally be able to pursue other unrestricted free agents to complete the roster.
- George Malik translated an interview by Aftonbladet (Swedish newspaper) with captain Nicklas Lidstrom. He told the paper that his appearance in Vancouver is dependent on how he feels. Lidstrom believes that he is on the right track, but still experiences some pain in his elbow. He says that he will make his decision by the start of the NHL regular season. Lidstrom was also asked about his hockey career when his contract with the Wings expires next summer. If he is injury-free and motivated the Swede would like to continue playing but has no desire to play in Sweden or the KHL, saying “When I’m finished with the NHL, I’ll be finished with hockey, too.”
- According to the Windsor Star, recent signee Andy Delmore approached the Wings about signing with the club. Delmore will play in Grand Rapids, but could see time in the Winged Wheel if there are some injuries on the blue line.
- NHL.com talked to head coach Mike Babcock about Team Canada, which he will coach in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Babcock stressed the importance of getting the work and planning done in advance so that when Detroit’s training camp begins, he can turn his attention to that because he “remember who pays me.” He added that working in the same building as Steve Yzerman and Ken Holland during the regular season will help him prepare for the Winter Games.
- Wes Goldstein of CSBSports.com gave the Red Wings a “B” when grading their reloading this off-season. To be fair, the Wings are not done this season as the Hudler situation has held up the Wings in talking with other free agents. He graded Detroit’s other Central Division opponents: Chicago (C), St. Louis (C), Columbus (B+), and Nashville (C-).
- Casey of Winging It In Motown evaluated Marian Hossa’s one-year stint with the Red Wings.
- The Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, was the least-penalized AHL team in an 80-game season in the history of the league.
- The Hockey News named Chris Chelios the No. 1 American-born NHLer.
- Former Wings coach Scotty Bowman comes in at No. 7 of a Sporting News’ list naming the 50 greatest coaches of all time. It was the highest ranking for an NHL coach.