Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Malkin's Flight to Witness Protection

There are at least two sides to every controversial story. This Evgeni Malkin mad dash to artistic freedom saga seems to have many sides. Ingmar comes strong with a summary of how the IIHF/NHL transfer agreement is basically extortion. The Euro-clubs get screwed financially when one of their stars blows to hockey's promised land. I agree with Ingmar. Compensation of $200,000 for a player worth millions on this side of the pond is highway robbery. Ingmar also chafes at the term "defection." He reminds us that the Cold War is over and the KGB no longer exerts its iron grip on Soviet, errrr Russian athletes.

But wait, there's more...an interesting article by Chuck Finder in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette seems to hint that young Evegeni might of been the subject of a late-night shakedown at the hands of his Metallurg handlers:

Natalia Malkin told the Sport Gazeta. "But the management of Metallurg
played on his patriotic feelings. He was not able to refuse."

So, it was sign the 1-year deal (giving us leverage vs. the Pens/NHL in any future settlement battle), or wake up with the head of a dead horse in yer hotel bed?...Niiiiiiice.

The KGB may be officially gone, but Soviet-style coercive tactics seem to be alive and well in the la Cosa Nostra that is the Russian Hockey Federation.

As he departed Finland, Malkin had an Eddie Murphy moment as he sang along to his IPod...

All night diners keep you awake, hey, on black coffee and a hard roll
You might have to walk the fine line, you might take the hard line
But everybody's working overtime

You might not be looking
for the promised land, but you might find it anyway

Under one of those old familiar names
Like New Orleans, Detroit City, Dallas, or
Pittsburg P.A....

Enjoy your Ben RoethlisBurger Evgeni, compliments of capitalism and of course the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown.
I feel GOOOD!!! HEH!

Here's a quick blast from the past. I found a 1999 PBS Frontline expose featuring some Russian mob shenanigans including this gem on Hurricane-in-limbo-pending-trade, Oleg Tverdovsky:

On January 30, 1996, Tverdovsky's mother Alexandra was kidnapped from her
home in Donetsk, Ukraine, and was held for ransom. The leader of the kidnappers
was one of Tverdovsky's former minor league hockey coaches in
the Ukraine.


Chris said...

If everyone is as free as Ingmar says they are, why pay a fee at all? Why can't a kid from Russia get a visa and fly over to the US to play?

This is just a cash grab, pure and simple.

CasonBlog said...

I don't think any graft money is appropriate. I don't think some sort of finders fee should be paid to the Russian Hockey Fed just because a kid developed in their system. I think the Russians are often guilty of mob-like coercive tactics, but if a player breaks his contract with a Euro club, I think the NHL owes meaningful compensation.