Sunday, July 13, 2008

Radulov - A Fiasco That's Crossed the Line


Well, this is an another event that has blindsided the Predators organization and its fans. Most of us are quite upset for many obvious reasons. I'll try to look at this with some objectivity, but it's not easy because there is so much wrong with what Alexander Radulov has done.

I cannot blame him for jumping at the chance to make this kind of money so quickly into his budding hockey career. I understand that the lure of that much money would be most difficult for anyone to pass up and I also realize that there is so much we don't know about what has been said. We don't know what has happened behind closed doors.

What we do know however, is that this man broke his NHL contract and he broke his word. A signed SPC is in place until the end of the '08/'09 season, after which he will be an RFA. Outside of the lure of big tax-free bucks, it is said that he wants out of Nashville and out of the NHL, although I've not heard why. Naturally, one reason is that he knew that once this news came out that no one in this town would want him around, and therefore it makes it quite easy at that point to say that he doesn't want to be here. His presence would be malignant.

If he had honored the last year on his contract and then said "so long", that would have been a different story and acceptable to most fans. However, the underhanded way he has undertaken this move has generated an immense amount of ill will in Nashville. Even if he is somehow forced to stay in the NHL by a ruling from the Russian league, the KHL, we don't want him here. I don't need to list all the obvious reasons why he will no longer be welcome here, but locker room chemistry and a sulking attitude quickly come to mind.

If he's forced to stay in the NHL, then he needs to be traded for something - anything. He has only played two seasons in the league and the prospect of losing our 1st round pick (15th overall) from the 2004 draft doesn't sit too well. Will anyone want him? Absolutely, so that is an option that we might see, although I am beginning to think it's doubtful at this point.

Most fans that I've communicated with are quite upset, and that's putting it mildly. It is pretty much unanimous that we want him gone from this team - the sooner the better - even though we desperately need a player with his skating skills and offensive potential. (Note that I said potential - he's not a star yet, even though he thinks he is.)

My words to Alexander would be simple: "don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out". If you look at it dispassionately, there really is no other answer for us at this point - he has to go. Again, I just hope that we manage to get something in return, although I have no idea as to what that might be.

In closing, beware of more raids of this type and not just for Russian players. Unless fair, iron-clad transfer agreements are solidly in place soon, we will see more of this. The next one might be be for a Canadian or European player for whom an oil-sotted Russian oligarch might pay 5 times what that player could earn in the NHL.

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