The NHL Vs. The KHL: Lampman Signing Adds Fuel to the Fire

Allen PopelsCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2009

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Bryce Lampman #33 of the Tampa Bay Lightning moves the puck against the Dallas Stars during a NHL preseason game at the St. Pete Times Forum on September 19, 2007 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

While the NHL front office continues to be upset with the Continental Hockey League (KHL) over the status of Jiri Hudler, NHL teams continue to make boneheaded moves to compound the situation.

The St. Louis Blues announced last week the signing of defenseman Bryce Lampman to a one-year, two-way deal.  However, if they would have taken the time to do the research, the Blues would have noticed that Lampman was still under contract with his team in the KHL.

The league released this statement Tuesday morning:

Kontinental Hockey League was surprised with National Hockey League vice-president Bill Daly statement, published in the Detroit Free Press on July 30, 2009. Commenting on the fact of registration of Jiři Hudler contract with the KHL club Dynamo Moscow, Mr. Daly said: «The NHL respects the terms of individual player contracts in other leagues. The KHL has chosen not to respect NHL contracts». But on 29 July the NHL club St.Louis Blues announced about signing a contract with the American defenseman Bryce Lampman who has valid and registered two-year agreement with the KHL club Amur Khabarovsk. Copies of the contract have been sent by Kontinental Hockey League to the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Kontinental Hockey League expects to receive an official comment on the situation from the National Hockey League and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The KHL is absolutely correct in this argument.  If the NHL and it's teams cannot stop signing players under contract to the Russian league, than why should they stop hording players in return?

Once again the NHL is crying foul, yet not practicing the same business standards they are preaching.

Now it's the St. Louis Blues signing of a soon to be 27-year-old defenseman that has played a total of 10 NHL games over the course of six professional seasons in North America.  If they had spent the time to check out Lampman, they would have noticed that he played last season with Amur Khabarovsk of the KHL. 

That should have sent off red flags everywhere telling you, you better be sure that he still doesn't have an active contract over there before signing him.

Maybe if the NHL showed the KHL some professional courtesy, they in return would not make a big deal out of these kind of signings.  Do you really think that they are that upset at losing Lampman to the NHL? 

The guy played nine games last season for Amur Khabarovsk, so it's not as though he was a key player on their team.  If the Blues would have just taken the time to contact the KHL on Lampman's status before signing him, perhaps the KHL would have even allowed it without any compensation.

It's a two-way street in the business world, so if the NHL wants the KHL to respect their contracts, perhaps they should show them the same courtesy.  Until then, the cold war in the hockey world will rage on.

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