Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 07/03/13 at 12:29 AM ET
The NHL's engaging in its first ever "wining and dining" period for free agents-to-be over the next two days, and as Sportsnet's Chris Johnston suggests:
1. This should be more informative for players who want to know about their potential "fits" on prospective employers' teams;
2. It allows teams to make in-person presentations to players should they wish to do so;
3. More than anything, in all honesty, this kind of shit has been going on forever prior to the free agent period via informal means, so basically makes the "cheating" that's been taking place legal.
Here's his explanation thereof:
First, it is important to note that there are rules about what is permitted. Free-agent contracts can’t officially be signed until Friday afternoon and the league recently distributed a memo to teams that outlines the limits of what they can provide during visits with players.
The most they can offer is business-class flights to a free agent and his partner — private jets aren’t allowed — and accommodation in a hotel equivalent to where they would stay during the season. Gifts are forbidden and the only money that can change hands is the standard NHL per diem rate.
Even still, this essentially marks the beginning of free agency. Players such as Mike Ribeiro, Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr and Daniel Alfredsson — yes, even the Ottawa Senators captain remains unsigned — can now truly start imagining themselves in different uniforms. They can also speak with general managers and coaches about how they might fit into a new situation.
If things progress quickly, their agents can agree in principle on the term and value of a new contract.
It is a departure from the previous system, where the floodgates opened all at once and whispers of tampering were commonplace.
“It makes a lot of sense for me,” Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier said Tuesday. “I think (in the past) there was a lot of talking and interviewing that was either third party, informal (or) connect the dots. I think a lot of things were happening in the background anyway. I think this process makes it more formal and gives other clubs that weren’t cheating, gives everyone a better footing in order to negotiate, interview, speak with representatives or the players themselves. So I think it’s a lot better.”
He continues at length and his article's worth your time.
Update: Oh, and it's on:
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