Sunday, September 7, 2008

Not a Slow Sunday

While nobody had the kind of night as some of the prospects did on Saturday; it was still a pretty busy evening as CHL players get ready to head to Traverse City this week. The results as expected were mixed so here goes.

Tomas Kundratek Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

Kundratek had an assist in his second game as a Tiger as Medicine Hat lost to as his Tigers lost to the Swift Current Broncos 5-3 in the Saskatoon Ice Breaker tournament. While the Tigers split their games in Saskatoon, it was very good to see Kundratek in a regular rotation and used in several situations.

We got some good reviews about his play this weekend and it appears that the Tigers will be using Kundratek in their top pairing for his offensive skills. That is if the Rangers do not keep Kundratek and assign him to Hartford.

Kundratek has skill and he has some strong potential but his body is clearly not professional leagues ready so memo to the Rangers do not rush this prospect. Let him play 20 minutes a night while getting other things out of the way like filling his body out and learning English.

David Stich Saint Johns Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

No scoring tonight but 3 good hits and 3 shots on goal along with being one of the few players on the Sea Dogs not to wind up with a minus as the Sea Dogs were whipped 8-4 by the Acadie-Bathhurst Titan.

It really is looking like Stich has finally realized that he can be more than just a goon in the QMJHL. He is playing a full all around game and his timing is going to help him.

IF Stich can bring the player who appeared in last season's QMJHL playoffs to Traverse City then he just might walk away with a Ranger/Hartford contract. Given the lack of legit prospect talent for Hartford this season (sorry signing other minor leaguers is not adding prospects) then a door is wind open for players who want to work hard.

Chris Doyle Prince Edward Island Rocket (QMJHL)

Doyle was 7-2 on faceoffs, had 3 shots and his Rocket defeated Cape Breton 3-1 but we are still left wondering why a guy who scored 29 goals last season is being used as a center during the exhibition season?

We are told that Doyle is expected to be one of the leaders for the Rocket this year so here we are wondering why he is not on one of the top lines as a scoring winger? 3 shots in a game is not what we want to see from a team leader.

Yes we look at things from the perspective of what is the best thing for a prospect and right now his rights belong to PEI. And yes this is just an exhibition game but our concern is that come next weekend we are wanting to see Doyle step himself up in order to make a good impression on the Ranger coaching staff.

Yes the Rangers are saying that when they open camp they will have all the prospects as well but that changes really quick after a couple of days. Someone like Doyle has to stand out right from the get go or else find himself lost in the shuffle.

Other Prospects

We do not have any word as to whether or not Dale Wiese (Swift Current WHL) or Michael Del Zotto (Oshawa OHL) played for their respective teams on Sunday but we are not worried as both players will be key components for their teams this season.

The Weak, The Immature and the Very Disappointing

That alone should tell you that we are of course talking about the current impasse between the KHL and NHL. If you are not aware the IIHF did more to damage their reputation by their totally weak ruling regarding the contract status of Nashville Predator Alexander Radulov.

It is a scary moment when we find ourselves in total agreement with NHL Deputy Commissioner Billy Daly but we are.

In a email message sent to The Hockey News, Daly said:

“The facts couldn't be more clear,” “But instead of revealing what (the IIHF’s) investigation actually found – which is that Radulov is under contract to Nashville and should be playing there this season - they pulled the chute and took the easy way out. Very, very disappointing. Its seems that the KHL is making decisions for the IIHF these days.”

And Daly is 100% right here as there is no hiding that Nashville holds a contract for the services of Radulov but we will take it further as there is also no evidence that Radulov made any effort to gain a legal release from his contract from the Predators.

That the IIHF failed to acknowledge that is very disappointing to us as well given how we here are Prospect Park have given the IIHF the benefit of the doubt in saying what a rough position they are in.

Here is what the IIHF ruled which to us is a crock:

The meeting agreed that the unsolved case of Alexander Radulov will go to an applicable court or – if all included parties agree – to arbitration, whose verdict can not be overruled.

How is this an unsolved case? It is either that there is a binding contract signed in good faith signed by Radulov or there is not one. How the IIHF could not show some courage and just rule is damaging to their credibility.

Given the current impasse between the NHL and KHL; it is almost impossible to believe that either side would be able to agree on who would be the arbitrator which makes binding arbitration something that will not happen.

The KHL for it's part expects us to believe that they actually want to work with the NHL because they dropped their claims of dispute over the contracts of 5 other players. They just went after 3 other prospects who they claim their rights belong to KHL teams.

Ah our "friends" from the KHL want us to believe that they wear the white hats here as they promise that:

As of today, the KHL will continue to respect all legally valid contracts signed with NHL clubs and also all legally valid contracts signed with IIHF clubs, subject to the NHL not signing KHL registered players under legally valid contracts.

Given how they filed 3 new claims of dispute over NHL contracts then we are viewing this as in reality they are not going to respect NHL contracts. It is though very doubtful that any important NHL player would be jumping out of an NHL contract to play in the KHL.

As for the NHL, while we are in total agreement on the Radulov issue; we are also going to take them to task for not being mature enough to attend the meeting themselves. By not attending they are in fact taking the low road as unwilling to show a willingness to work issues out unless it is to their satisfaction.

Sorry NHL but you had a chance to say directly to the faces of the KHL and IIHF how wrong this decision was. In our eyes by showing up you could have put the IIHF on the spot and demanded a public explanation as to why they ruled the way they did.

Boycotting the meeting because you are mad at the KHL does not help your image in Europe as you had a chance here to lay out your cards for the other European federations about why you say this is wrong. You could have brought the Radulov contract out and asked them to show where and why it was not legally binding.

Instead all that has happened is that nothing has happened. Instead of working towards a solution, it seems that the rift has now grown that much wider.

What a shame for the sport of Hockey.


HockeyFan said...

What a magnificent article on the way NHL handled itself by boycotting the meeting in Europe.
Outstanding prose; you are one clear and strong voice of sports journalism that I admire.
I love North American and Russian hockey. I have been a fan and an amateur hockey historian for over 40 years. There will never be peace between North America and Russia. The people that the NHL is dealing with only know how to take from somebody else. Yes, NHL missed the chance to state its case publicly. But, in my opinion, and no one asked me, don’t agree with KHL on anything. NHL prospered without Russian players for over 60 years and did great. We can tell KHL to go to hell. There will be no agreement that we will respect until your Government stops support of Syrian and Iranian Governments. That’s where we should start. NHL will not wither and die. We are strong and proud people who love and support the Game. It will endure and prosper. Let them play in Ufa, Novosibirsk and Moscow, etc. Where is our pride? When will we stop assisting a Country and her sporting Clubs that accuses Americans in setting up a Muslim regime in the heart of Europe and hates us? Who is running NHL anyway? You hear nearly daily about another owner going to jail. Pretty soon we’ll run out of owners. Oh, I see. Then Russians will supply some new blood. Pretty soon you’ll see Russian NHL Club owners here… Maybe it’s time for a CHANGE in the NHL front office?
OK… I understand the argument about the small World, global impact of hockey… Tell it to Georgians!
Cut them off completely. Don’t support their Clubs. Instead invest in hockey here in North America. Russians have enough money to challenge you? Let them support their clubs themselves. Hit them in the pocket. Don’t entertain Bardin! Boycott him. Jaromir wore number 68 to honor his country and countrymen during the Prague Spring in 1968. I’m one dude that’s amazed to see him now in Russia taking Russian money. Sure. Oh, I got it, Mr. Jagr: money doesn’t smell. I was under impression that you had PRINCIPALS, pal… that you had CLASS and not the one that you showed the World during your “Mike Millbury” good-buy New York interview.
But once a Red is always a Red. Especially if your, what’s her status now, Jaromir, future wife? Is Ukrainian.
Now… In Ancient Greece all athletics were used as a preparation for war. In our own time this tradition, of course, continues: athletes are usually are better prepared for army rigors. NHL, stop cooperation and support of KHL clubs now! You are breeding the next generation of Russian warriors! All these people want from you is money. They are not our friends! They are our enemies!
What’s next? Red Chinese hockey players? Hmmm… It’s a “new” NHL. They are fast. We can sign them for “peanuts”…
What happen to the notion that North American hockey players are the best athletes in the World? Were we lied to?
Amateur Historian.

Jess Rubenstein said...


Wow thank you for those very kind comments. I think you might recall the days of the WHA when it tried to take on the NHL and lost.

That is what I see happening with the KHL as I think the NHL will really not have to do anything but watch as I fully expect the KHL to turn on each other and destroy the league themselves by overspending.

I see that when the KHL can not lure quality NHL players over there then they will start raiding each other and as it has been the case for Russian Hockey since the USSR fell, they can not get along with themselves for more than a couple of years at a time.