by PuckStopsHere on 11/25/08 at 04:49 PM ET
Over the course of the summer and into the beginning of the 2008/09 season, the NHL and the KHL have been fighting over player transfers. There is no transfer agreement between the leagues governing players leaving one league to join the other. As a result, there have been a few cases of players contested who have contracts in both leagues. The most high profile case has been Alexander Radulov who left the Nashville Predators of the NHL to join Saavat Yulaev of the KHL, but there have been players jumping to the NHL as well. The most recent case that the NHL fought is that of Matt Murley.
Murley signed a two-way one year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes this summer. When he failed to make the NHL, he jumped to the KHL to play with Khaborovsk Amur. Naturally, the NHL protested this with the IIHF. The IIHF has ruled.
The IIHF admonishes the Russian Hockey Federation for allowing him to play without a valid player transfer, but they have chosen not to attempt to apply sanctions against the KHL or Matt Murley. Basically they said this was bad, but they are too weak a body to do anything about it other than call it bad.
The IIHF is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the hockey world. The NHL looks out for itself and North America. The Russian Hockey Federation looks out for itself and Russia. Hockey Europe looks out for the other European hockey playing nations and the IIHF is a powerless body that tries to mediate the inevitable disputes that come up between the various agencies. Unless the IIHF finds a place for itself it will be rendered useless and possibly be killed off. As a body that admonishes people but can do nothing about it, it serves no purpose.
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