Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Oilers Vs. Nylander

I had made mention yesterday of the possible signing of centreman Michael Nylander by the Edmonton Oilers. The Fan radio station in Edmonton had also reported the same thing, but there was no official confirmation to be found anywhere on the Internet or on television. Instead, I left the little blurb about how I was checking into the story on my article yesterday. I was a little shocked when the Washington Capitals announced that they had signed Nylander to a four-year, $19.5 million contract. This lead me to believe that The Fan radio station was pulling an "Eklund" - they were reporting an unsubstantiated rumour. I went on my way, removed the blurb, and reported the signing.

It turns out that The Fan radio station wasn't lying. I received an email today from the Edmonton Oilers. I signed up for their newsletter, and get breaking news as a bonus. Here's today's email, word for word from the Oilers, as to the Michael Nylander situation:

Oilers Statement regarding Michael Nylander

The Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is compelled to clarify the unfortunate and unprecedented circumstances surrounding the Edmonton Oilers and Michael Nylander.

On Sunday, July 1, 2007, Kevin Lowe, Oilers General Manager, and Mr. Mike Gillis, Certified Agent for Michael Nylander, negotiated and agreed to a multi-year NHL Standard Players Contract, starting in 2007/08. Mr. Gillis confirmed same to the Oilers in writing.

The Oilers then proceeded with preparations to announce Mr. Nylander's contract agreement on July 2, and concurrently continued with the process of negotiating with other free agents based upon Mr. Nylander being an important roster ingredient for the future.

However, while the Oilers were expecting the returned, signed agreements from Mr. Nylander and Mr. Gillis, the Oilers discovered through public announcements made mid-afternoon on July 2, that Mr. Nylander had subsequently entered into a long-term contract with the Capitals.

The Oilers can find no precedent for such conduct in our history. The Oilers are examining and pursuing every course of action available in the best interest of the team and our fans.

For legal reasons, the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club will not be discussing the details any further at this time.


Let me say that again: wow. For a team that has sent its fans through the ringer more than once since the Trade Deadline, this new development is insanity. I don't know what the Oilers can do in this situation. If you're a lawyer, please weigh in. I need to know how this could unfold.

All I know is that UFA Day just got a whole lot more confusing. I'm going to stay on top of this story. This one has all the makings of a good ol' courtroom drama.

Until I get more on this, keep your sticks on the ice!


need training wheels on my skates said...

Seeing as how the Oilers didn't get the signed standard players contract back from Gillis and Nylander, they might not have a leg to stand on.

Sage Confucius said...

I'm with you, Teebz. Wow.

Part of the negotiation process is to bargain in good faith. If contract terms were agreed to verbally, and both the player and team have an expectation of a result, then I would guess there's something the Oilers can do. I don't know if there is any recourse within the league though. Ultimately, if a player agrees to play for a certain team for a certain term and amount, that player should stop negotiations with any other teams. It's an unprofessional thing to do from the player's standpoint.

Teebz said...

Training Wheels - I think they may have a case.

Sage - it's highly unprofessional, but similar in Nylander's M.O.

Honestly, I hope the Oilers go for broke in trying to get something for this. I don't think the Capitals should suffer, but Nylander should be forced to sit or something. That's bush league.