Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/02/05 at 09:17 AM ET
Labor Day is also D-Day, according to Pavel Datsyuk, the Wings' restricted free agent center. Datsyuk and his agent, Gary Greenstin, reiterated their intention to sign a contract with Datsyuk's Russian pro team, Moscow Dynamo, if they can't reach an agreement on a new deal with the Wings by Monday. "If the Red Wings are unable to sign a contract with Datsyuk by then, than we would have to postpone the negotiations with Detroit until next spring," Greenstin told Soviet Sport newspaper on Wednesday. But Red Wings general manager Ken Holland on Thursday said he won't be backed into a corner. As far as he's concerned, the only deadline that matters is Dec. 1, the date restricted free agents must sign with NHL teams in order to be eligible to play this season. "They've got some dates that they feel are pressure points," Holland said. "But those dates don't mean anything to me. I don't think that's a very good negotiation, when I'm operating under a deadline and nobody else is. "Obviously, if Pavel chooses to sign a contract in Russia, that's up to him. But he could sign a contract in Russia with an out-clause negotiated in it." Despite some progress this week, negotiations have stalled, with the Wings rejecting Greenstin's latest counteroffer. Both sides essentially have settled on a three-year term for a new deal - Datsyuk, 27, is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2007 - but that's where the agreement ends. "We obviously disagree on what's a fair marketplace," said Holland, who, under the NHL's new salary cap, has about $7 million left to fill three or four roster spots this season. "Right now, we've both moved. But I think I've moved a lot more. And we're still so far apart."
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