Hockey

Radulov puts desire to leave NHL in writing

Stuck in the centre of a dispute between the NHL and Russia's new Continental Hockey League, Alexander Radulov claims in a recent letter that his reasons for wanting to play in his home country go beyond money.

Stuck in the centre of a dispute between the NHL and Russia's new Continental Hockey League (KHL), Alexander Radulov claims that his reasons for wanting to play in his home country go beyond money.

"I returned to Russia not so that I could return again to the NHL but rather to offer all of my efforts and professionalism to the betterment of Russian hockey taking it to a new level," Radulov wrote in a letter dated Oct. 1, according to a translation attributed to him and provided by the KHL. 

Radulov wrote the letter to KHL president Alexander Medvedev possibly to end some mixed signals on whether he wanted to return to the NHL.

"I have never been, nor am I currently, nor do I intend to hold negotiations with representatives of the National Hockey League or the International Ice Hockey Federation regarding the possibility of having the case of my transfer to the Continental Hockey League reviewed by the International Court of Sports Arbitration in Lausanne," Radulov's letter states.

NHL officials had not seen the letter, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. The Radulov case has not been set yet for arbitration, but Daly said some progress was made toward setting a date at a recent meeting in Switzerland.

Daly said they have not heard from the Russians despite repeated attempts through the IIHF. Daly said he had been told by the players' association that Radulov was ready to abide by an arbitrator's decision.

Paul Kelly, executive director of the NHL Players' Association, confirmed what Daly said.

"The NHLPA has been advised by a representative of the player that he will respect and abide by the final ruling in the arbitration of the dispute between the KHL and the NHL over his contractual status," Kelly said.

Radulov is at the centre of a clash between the KHL and the NHL over respecting players' existing deals.

In July, Radulov signed with Russian club Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL while still under contract to the NHL's Nashville Predators for the 2008-09 season. The move came a day after it was announced that the NHL, KHL and IIHF had reached an agreement that the leagues would not poach players from each other.

Coming off a 26-goal season, Radulov, 22, was due to make just under $1 million US in 2008-09 with Nashville. His contract with Salavat Yulaev Uf was reportedly worth $13 million US tax-free over three years.

After the Predators suspended him indefinitely, the IIHF ruled on Oct. 1 that Radulov was wrong to sign with Salavat Yulaev Uf, but that it couldn't suspend him with no formal deal in place regarding international transfers.

Nashville officials had no comment Tuesday on Radulov's desire to stay in Russia, electing to have the NHL handle the case.

Radulov was the Predators' third-leading scorer last season with 58 points, but they have won two of their first three games to start this season.

With files from the Associated Press

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