A poached Predator, Burke's Lowe blow and a hot new Wing
Looks like a sorta good news/really bad news day in Nashville.
The good news first: it appears as though the team's local owners will cough up the funds to replace the nearly $10 million owed to the city by disgraced minority owner
The temporary stabilization provided by this funding is nice, but it's small solace in the face of the bad news: the Preds are about to lose their most important young forward to Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.
On the same day the KHL and NHL agreed not to poach contractually obligated players from one another came unconfirmed reports out of Russia that
The team may decide to pursue retention of his services through the courts, but even if they win, they lose. If Radulov has his heart set on playing back home, something that's apparent from his statements to the Russian media, then forcing an unhappy player to suit up would be disastrous both on and off the ice.
While the Russian league appears to have won this battle, Russian hockey could be the loser. Based on previous statements by IIHF president
I have two boys at home, ages seven and four. They're both great kids, but each seems to take great enjoyment out making the other's life miserable from time to time. If you're a parent, you're familiar with the pattern. Little jabs back and forth that slowly escalate until you lay down the law and restore order.
And then, inevitably, one will try to get in the last shot.
You sort of expect that behavior from a little kid. Not so much from an NHL GM.
The long-running feud between
But enough's enough. That's the way the league saw it, too. After Lowe broke his year of silence and finally fired off a few retaliatory volleys of his own, the two men were called on the carpet and told to muzzle it.
"We felt for a host of reasons it was important to bring the parties together and make it clear to both organizations that public comments disparaging the other were bad for the business and would no longer be tolerated," NHL deputy commissioner
Slaps on the wrist administered, it looked like the hostilities were over. But within days of accepting a league-mandated ceasefire, Burke was at it again. Moments after telling reporters in a conference call that he would accept the NHL's order to put a gag on the feud, Burke took his parting shot, asking the league to consider tampering charges against Lowe.
The basis? This statement that Lowe made in an interview with an Edmonton radio station prior to the league stepping in:
"Anaheim has decent players -
Anyone without a chip on his shoulder, or a touch of restraint, would recognize that off-the-cuff remark for what it was. Not Burke, who on Thursday afternoon fired off his version of a nuisance suit.
"It is our understanding that clubs are not entitled to express interest in the services of a player belonging to another NHL organization," he said in a conference call. "Our understanding is that such an expression of interest constitutes tampering. We have asked the league to investigate whether a tampering episode has taken place."
There no doubt are Ducks fans applauding Burke's defense of their honor, but they're naïve if they believe that was his intention. If Burke felt he had a legitimate beef, the place to express it was directly to the commissioner. Since he most likely took advantage of that opportunity -- can you imagine him doing anything else? -- this has to be seen for what it is: Burke petulantly sticking his tongue out at the league.
Putting his legal training to good use, Burke didn't actually break the letter of the law with his parting dig, but he certainly went against the spirit. The recent lawsuit filed against the New York Rangers over online interests proves the NHL isn't afraid to take someone to the woodshed if they can't get along well with others. While the feuding was fun for a while, it has run its course. It's time for the league to come down on Burke. Hard.
The Red Wings added goaltenders
The 22-year-old clearly needs time to adjust to the North American style, but after earning the Honken Trophy as Sweden's top goaltender --
"He's struggled at times, but you can see what makes him successful," one camp observer noted. "His positioning is excellent, and he reads the play well. That's going to be the key to his ability to transition from the Euro to the NHL style. He looks real athletic, and he's really confident in there."
You can certainly call the Wings legendary drafting prowess into question, but you can't argue with their ability to develop prospects once they're in the system. Larsson's progress will be worth charting this year.