It’s a monkey-see, monkey-do business. First it was offer sheets to RFA’s…now it’s claiming other people’s contracts.
It happened to St. Louis twice this season…
- They signed Marek Svatos and Nashville claimed him.
- They signed Kyle “Me So Hungy” Wellwood and San Jose claimed him.
So when Detroit went out and signed Evgeni Nabokov to a bottom-dollar deal, Garth Snow figured he’d get in on that action. I can’t say I really blame him. He was well within the rules – but that doesn’t mean that the rules aren’t flawed – they are.
If these teams were interested in attaining additional help – why didn’t they go out and pursue the players themselves? I’ll tell you why – because they can benefit from the rules which allow them to sit back and let other teams do all the work seeking out players, negotiating with their agents, signing the player to contract….and then people like Doug Wilson, whoever the hell runs Nashville, and mediocre back-up goalies turned general managers simply point and say “I want that!”.
So Garth Snow claimed Nabokov…Garth puffed up his chest and patted himself on the back and probably put on his best suit when he called Nabby who subsequently hung up on him immediately. Why? Because he doesn’t want to play for your bottom-dwelling team. That’s probably why he didn’t SIGN with your team. I get that guys like Svatos and Wellwood were probably just happy to be playing in the NHL again, but Nabokov is standing firm. He won’t report to the Islanders…so Garth Snow suspended him from the team he doesn’t want to play for in the first place.
True to form, Bill Daily tells NHL.com that as long as what is written down in paper is followed – then he is in full, blind support:
“Those clubs know full well when they go ferreting around Europe looking for players who might want to play in North America that this prospect exists. It’s likely that if the player’s good and the contract is a good one, they may lose him. It’s a bit of a disincentive to go looking for those players.” –Bill Daily
Ok….great. But why? Why put a system in place that doesn’t allow players to play where they want if they so happened to play in Europe? Nothing wrong with Peter Forsberg coming back and being able to choose where he plays – but only because he didn’t play in Europe. I get it…the rules are set up that way – what I don’t understand is why.
People have tried to compare this act of suspension to Alexi Yashin not honoring his contract with the Ottawa Senators back in the day…but the difference between these two cases is that Yashin signed his contract with the actual Ottawa Senators. Nabby signed with Detroit because he wants to play in Detroit – not Long Island.
I’m curious as to what everyone else’s thoughts on this matter are – but I wanted to get mine out there.
The rules need to change.