Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Slippery Bugger

So early Monday or late Sunday, it was being reported that the Oilers had signed Michael Nylander. Later that day, it was announced that the Washington Capitals had signed him for $19.5-million, four-years. So what happened?

According to the Edm Sun,
Despite rumours and an erroneous radio report and the allegedly waiting all day for returned paperwork, Michael Nylander did not become an Edmonton Oiler yesterday.

So upset at whatever transpired when the Washington Capitals announced they'd signed the free agent to a four year deal yesterday afternoon, Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe was said to be so livid he refused to talk about it, even to a Sun Media reporter parked outside the team officies for two hours.

So what happened? Nylander was probably playing the Oilers off against the Capitals, trying to get a better deal. It looks like Lowe thought this was a done deal until the Caps announced the signing. Seems pretty underhanded by Nylander at least and maybe even the Caps. I'd like to know exactly what happened here.

Update: Oilers statement regarding this whole mess is below. It looks like they have been wronged big time here. I'm no legal expert, but if the agent wrote a letter of agreement, would that be binding and his subsequent contract with Washington null and void? Probably not, because the agent signed something, I would think the NHL must have rules in place for this.

The Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is compelled to clarify the unfortunate and unprecedented circumstances surrounding the Edmonton Oilers and Michael Nylander.

On Sunday, July 1, 2007, Kevin Lowe, Oilers General Manager, and Mr. Mike Gillis, Certified Agent for Michael Nylander, negotiated and agreed to a multi-year NHL Standard Players Contract, starting in 2007/08. Mr. Gillis confirmed same to the Oilers in writing.

The Oilers then proceeded with preparations to announce Mr. Nylander’s
contract agreement on July 2, and concurrently continued with the process of
negotiating with other free agents based upon Mr. Nylander being an important roster ingredient for the future.

However, while the Oilers were expecting the returned, signed agreements from Mr. Nylander and Mr. Gillis, the Oilers discovered through public announcements made mid-afternoon on July 2, that Mr. Nylander had subsequently entered into a long-term contract with the Capitals.

The Oilers can find no precedent for such conduct in our history. The Oilers are examining and pursuing every course of action available in the best interest of the team and our fans. For legal reasons, the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club will not be discussing the details any further at this time.

Wow, very interesting developments!


Anonymous said...

By now perhaps some of you have heard about the news release today regarding Nylander. As far as the Oilers could tell this was unprecedented. I wouldn't be surprised if there was legal action. Don't blame Lowe for being livid; I would be too. That move may have gummmed up Lowe's next crucial move in the free agency chess game.

d said...

"...and concurrently continued with the process of
negotiating with other free agents based upon Mr. Nylander being an important roster ingredient for the future."

I never even thought about this angle. Poor Lowe, he can't catch a break. I'm tired of the Oil getting crapped on!

Scarlett said...

Even if he hadn't signed the contract, he had agreed. Otherwise, the Oilers would be going after another forward. Idiots. The Oil always seem to get screwed!

d said...

After reading the Edm Sun article today, I might be going to a handful of games. It will be too hard to watch this team. And I thought this last year was bad!

Anonymous said...

Using the Journal and Sun articles -

after talking to both the player and agent and the subsequent time to ruminate because "he wants to come, but his wife is uncertain" (Sun), the agent calls back later and "confirms acceptance of the contract on his behalf" (Journal).
In good faith Lowe accepts Gillis' request to get the signing done in the morning (Journal).

What's unacceptable is Gillis never returning Lowe's calls that morning. Given the assumption Gillis did get confirmation from Nylander himself, Nylander knew the Oilers believed they had a deal. With him also not making the effort to contact Lowe as soon as possible is also unacceptable. "...out running errands..."? (Sun), do they not have cell phones in Sweden? So no time to get back to Lowe but enough time to get the deal done with the Capitals. That's BS in a major way. I don't blame Lowe for being furious, I would be too.

Yes, a deal is not a deal w/o the player's John Hancock within the CBA. Any Recourse? No idea. This doesn't excuse the actions of Nylander and Gillis. Leaving Lowe in 'signed contract limbo' for that long stinks of being used. Lack of moral fibre me thinks.

If I was looking for a positive in this 'fiasco', I'm wondering if this provided some shades of Nylander's character (Gillis is suspect here for me as well) and that possibly it was a blessing in disguise that he's not a Oiler?
Just my two cents(U.S.)