Transfer dispute over Predators' Radulov appears headed to court

Updated: September 6, 2008, 5:05 PM ET
Associated Press

ZURICH, Switzerland -- The dispute between the NHL and a newly formed Russian hockey league over forward Alexander Radulov appears headed for court.

The Continental Hockey League (KHL) withdrew its appeal on five other player transfers at a meeting on Saturday between the International Ice Hockey Federation and nine member countries, but couldn't resolve the Radulov case, the IIHF said in a statement.

The NHL and KHL will now go to court or arbitration to decide who owns his rights. Radulov had one year remaining on his contract with the Nashville Predators when he signed a deal with Ufa.

He believes the deal with the Russian team is valid because it was signed before the NHL and KHL agreed on July 10 to honor each other's contracts.

The Predators suspended the 22-year-old indefinitely without pay on Tuesday, the same day the 24-club KHL began its first season of play as successor to the former Russian Super League.

The Predators didn't rule out Radulov returning to the team in the future.

"At some point, we hope Alex will have a desire to return to the NHL and compete in the best league in the world," Predators general manager David Poile said in a statement. "We will revisit his status at that time."

The KHL withdrew its appeal on five players who were signed away from the KHL by NHL clubs, including Columbus Blue Jackets winger Nikita Filatov, Minnesota Wild defenseman Tomas Mojzis, Vancouver Canucks center Jason Krog, New Jersey Devils center Fedor Fedorov and Phoenix Coyotes center Viktor Tikhonov.

The KHL did contest the transfers of three other players: Los Angeles Kings prospects Andrei Loktionov and Vyacheslav Voinov, and Columbus prospect Andrei Mayorov.

The latest dispute to arise between the leagues since the KHL was formed last spring "will go to an applicable court or -- if all included parties agree -- to arbitration, whose verdict cannot be overruled," world hockey officials said in a statement.

The July pact was agreed to by the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. They were joined Saturday by representatives of Hockey Canada and Belarus.

The IIHF said Saturday all parties want to create a binding international transfer agreement to replace the one that collapsed last season over demands to increase the fee paid by NHL franchises to compensate European clubs.

The world body said it would start talks "as soon as possible" with the NHL and NHL Players' Association about formulating a new transfer deal with the Russian league.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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