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The NHL still holds all the cards in terms of halting players’ European vacations

After finding out that Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov had been denied a transfer from the Edmonton Oilers to his hometown team, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov took a look into the sticky wicket that is the fact that the Interational Ice Hockey Federation has to approve these kinds of player moves, and as of yet, the IIHF seems to not want to tread upon the NHL's toes by allowing locked out players to pursue employment in Europe:

An IIHF transfer card is needed for any player participating in any tournament under the IIHF umbrella. It is sort of a permit to play. The KHL and every hockey league in Europe is under the IIHF umbrella. The KHL had its run-ins with the international hockey governing body before, when the IIHF either refused or delayed issuing transfer cards, like in the case with Alex Radulov. On certain occasions, these tensions led to KHL threatening to leave the organization.

"The IIHF is not allowing Yakupov to play. The transfer card has not been sent from Switzerland (the IIHF headquarters)," Neftekhimik director Rafik Yakubov told Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov. "I can't even imagine what this is related to. Perhaps the international hockey federation doesn't want to feud with the NHL and is waiting when they receive an approval from there. The negotiations are ongoing and we were told that there will be no requests. So, Nail cannot play against Torpedo. He is already in Nizhnekamsk, practicing with the team and is ready to play even tomorrow."

Lysenkov is reporting that Igor Larionov, Yakupov's agent, had an agreement in place with the Edmonton Oilers to allow Yakupov to play in the KHL for the duration of the lockout. But now Yakupov has to wait.

The NHL is not a member of the IIHF, but has a great deal of power bossing the international governing body around. Rene Fasel rarely goes against NHL's wishes, and it is not surprising the IIHF is possibly waiting for NHL's official permission to issue transfer cards to NHL players allowing them to play in Europe during the lockout.

No one will officially confirm this within the IIHF, but it is possibly the case that this is yet another way the NHL can stop players from playing altogether. The IIHF's leadership is weak to make independent decisions.

The large scale of the IIHF's ineptness is that apparently Yakupov is not the only one without the transfer card. Czech media outlets are reporting that none (!) of the NHL players who have signed deals in Europe in the last few days have received their transfer cards. Not Jaromir Jagr nor Evgeni Malkin nor Sergei Gonchar nor Ilya Kovalchuk. We are awaiting confirmation of this, as the time difference with Europe is such that it is tough to get answers.


Update: Rut Roh:


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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