KHL and NHL face-off for another round
Tuesday August 04th 2009, 11:06 pm

The latest battle in the war between the KHL and NHL kicked off on Tuesday when the KHL released a statement accusing the NHL of breaking the two leagues’ “gentleman’s agreement” to refrain from signing each other’s players.  This time, it was the contract of former New York Rangers prospect Bryce Lampman, who signed a one year, two-way contract with the St. Louis Blues last Wednesday, that made waves.

According to the KHL, the 26-year old defenseman signed a two year agreement with Amur Khabarovsk last summer and, in accordance with KHL rules, is either required to show up for training camp or buy himself out of that contract.  Amur vice president Alexander Filippenko stated his club’s case to Sovietsky Sport:

We have an operating contract with Lampman, signed by the player.  However, he did not come to the team’s training camp, and a few days ago the official site of the NHL club St. Louis Blues published information about signing a one-year contract with Lampman… We have already demanded explanations from the player and his agent.  We believe that a player who has signed an agreement with us should fulfill it. Or, according to KHL rules, he is obligated to pay the club compensation for the annulment of the contract…

Lampman is the second player reported to have signed with an NHL club this summer despite being under contract in the KHL.  Last month defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski reached an agreement with the Atlanta Thrashers despite having a year remaining on his deal with SKA St. Petersburg.  In that case, the KHL deal was discovered before the NHL contract was officially signed and registered with the league.  Atlanta rescinded its offer and Kwiatkowski agreed to return to SKA, heading off a battle that included threats by KHL president Alexander Medvedev to actively pursue players under contract in the NHL.

Based on the official press release on the Blues’ web site, it would appear the club and the NHL failed to do their homework this time.  The KHL press release calls them on it, and almost gleefully points out the hypocrisy in NHL vice president Bill Daly’s words last week regarding the KHL’s decision to register the contract Detroit Red Wings restricted free agent Jiri Hudler signed with Dynamo Moscow.

Kontinental Hockey League was surprised with National Hockey League vice-president Bill Daly statement, published in the Detroit Free Press on July 30, 2009. Commenting on the fact of registration of JiÅ™i Hudler contract with the KHL club Dynamo Moscow, Mr. Daly said: «The NHL respects the terms of individual player contracts in other leagues. The KHL has chosen not to respect NHL contracts». But on 29 July the NHL club St.Louis Blues announced about signing a contract with the American defenseman Bryce Lampman who has valid and registered two-year agreement with the KHL club Amur Khabarovsk. Copies of the contract have been sent by Kontinental Hockey League to the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Kontinental Hockey League expects to receive an official comment on the situation from the National Hockey League and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

So much for the NHL’s righteous indignation.

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Filed under: KHL

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