“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Evgeni Malkin Decision

Evengi Malkin doesn’t have to go back to Russia according to a federal judge.

Led by Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Russian clubs sued in October claiming that the NHL broke U.S. antitrust law and improperly interfered in their business affairs by signing away players who were still under contract
Preska ruled that the Russians hadn't met the standard for a preliminary injunction. To do so, she said, they would have had to prove that the players' absence from the Russian league was causing their former teams irreparable harm.
Malkin isn’t the only Russian player involved. Minor leaguers Andrei Taratukhin of the Calgary Flames and Alexei Mikhnov of the Edmonton Oilers are also affected by the ruling.

NHL Commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement stating the league is pleased with the ruling.

This whole thing strikes me as the same greedy insanity that drove Alexi Yashin to sit out his contract with the Ottawa Senators. In that case, the courts upheld the validity of Yashin’s contract with the Senators. The basic issue here, once again, is contract validity. Did Malkin have a valid contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, a Russian Super League team? If so, this federal judge has allowed the breaking of basic contract law.

Judge Preska claimed the Russian hockey clubs were only interested in getting more money.
"These cases were always about money," Preska said. "The only issue is how much."
Admittedly, the Russians refused to sign the IIHF agreement specifying $200,000 fee from the NHL for European players. The Russians did not believe that was adequate compensation for their top talent. However, in using that arguement, she sidestepped the issue of whether valid contracts can be avoided by the player who is only interested in more money.

What this decision does is place personal greed over contract law. So, who has to fulfill their contracts anymore? In my opinion, this decision sets a very BAD legal precedent.

(…h/t to Kukla’s Korner for the Daly statement link…)