Tretiak, Fetisov at odds over NHL agreement
NHL Hall of Famer Vyacheslav Fetisov
According to a report issued today by the RIA (Russian News and Information Agency), demands are being made of Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak to improve the negotiations with the NHL and IIHF over the player transfer agreement, in order to better address the interests of the Russian hockey clubs.
The report says that Slava Fetisov, the head of Russia's Federal Agency on Physical Culture and Sport, will have face-to-face meeting with the Russian Hockey Federation president regarding the ongoing negotiations with the NHL.
In the meeting, which was requested by Tretiak, Fetisov will present his personal position on the NHL - IIHF transfer agreement, saying, "Tretiak was selected and assigned to his post in the RHF in order to make decisions and to answer for them." Fetisov made further note (through an aide) that, "It would be too complicated for me to comment on this matter, since I have on hand not even one document of the negotiating motions."
Tretiak has also requested input on the negotiations from the leaders of the Russian sporting agency, Rossport, and from the Russian hockey clubs.
According to the RIA report, the following are among the issues that are blocking the ratification by Russia of the NHL - IIHF transfer agreement:
"In spite of the resolutions, accepted on June 9, 2006 and on June 16, 2006, by a committee of the Presidents the Russian hockey clubs and by the Russian Federation Council on Hockey, approving the inclusion of the Russian Hockey Federation witin the agreement between the NHL and IIHF regarding the transfer of players, questions still remain open.
"First of all, the Russian Hockey Federation has not obtained from its foreign partners the final version of the document for approval, the signing of which will indicate the inclusion of the Russian Hockey Federation in the agreement. Without this document, the agreement cannot be joined.
"Furthermore, the Russian side, in the form of the President of the Russian Hockey Federation, has yet to obtain the explainations from the IIHF and the NHL regarding the formulation of a contract for next season between the Phoenix Coyotes and a player from Ak Bars Kazan, Enver Lisin. It became known at the beginning of June that a contract existed between the NHL club and Lisin, even though the player at that time was under contract with Kazan."
Vladislav Tretiak (don't mess with him)
To reiterate, the transfer agreement involves players who are currently under contract with a European team, who then break that contract to sign with an NHL club. The agreement sets the compensation to the original team for the player that they lost. This agreement affects the status of a player like Evgeni Malkin, who is still under contract to his Russian club, but not a player like Alexander Ovechkin, who was able to prove in court that he was a free agent.
When Russian didn't ratify the transfer agreement last year, Gary Bettman gave an order to the NHL teams not to sign any Russian players who were under contract.
In the case of Enver Lisin, he was still under contract to Ak Bars when he signed with Phoenix, which is a no-no that has apparently come to rankle the Russians.
You can check out Lisin's player profile and news archive on Russian Prospects, which includes these quotes (from Lisin's agent, and from his former coach in Russia) from when Phoenix first signed him:
Agent: "Lisin signed a three year contract with Phoenix, but it is unclear when he will travel across the ocean. The issue is that an agreement between the NHL and Russia is yet to be signed and Enver has an existing contract with Ak Bars. This means that the club’s management may ask a price for his transfer that Phoenix may find unreasonable."
Coach: "Enver told me about his potential departure to the NHL even before the end of the season. I am glad that this young player will get a chance to prove himself at a new level, and in a strong league. Lisin has one year left on his deal with our club, but I have no doubt that Ak Bars and Phoenix will find a common language regarding the subject of compensation. It will be reasonable. Our club has no intentions to hurt the player’s career and try to keep him by force."
However, according to an article that just appeared today in Sport Express, the vice-president of Ak Bars is now furious, claiming that Phoenix has welshed on their end of the bargain:
"Though we did not want to lose a talented young player such as Lisin, Ak Bars placed no obstacles in the way of his negotiations with Phoenix. Now, the club from overseas has broken the compensation agreement early, and we have at the moment obtained no money from the American club. The conclusions make themselves."
So, if any Pittsburgh fans are upset about the Penguins not yet being able to sign Malkin, they have the Phoenix Coyotes partially to blame.