By George Malik:
The CBA (will open pdf file) is a strange bird.
In two weeks, Sean Bergenheim (NYI) is stuck in Sweden because he's a restricted free agent. If Pavel Vorobiev (CHI), Mika Noronen (VAN), Timofei Shishkanov (STL), Denis Grebeshkov (NYI), Niklas Nordgren (PIT), or Evgeni Artyukhin (TB) are having second thoughts about their decisions to head over to Europe--in Bergenheim's case, specifically, to get contract leverage--they're simply not welcome in the NHL. Restricted free agents can't be re-signed after December 1st.
Given the hold-outs staged by Yashin, Khabibulin, and Fedorov, the December 1st stipulation's well-intentioned, but it is a bit strange in its execution.