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Yury Alexandrov Affair: Act II

August 28, 2011

As I wrote on Friday (link), Yury Alexandrov’s departure from the Bruins organization last week for SKA St Petersburg did not go as smoothly as expected.

A new report has emerged that the KHL disciplinary committee, which held a hearing last week that assigned Alexandrov, along with Viktor Tikhonov Jr., “unrestricted free agent status,” was indeed attended by representatives from Cherepovets. Hence, their utter confusion at the result might have been misplaced. Moreover, the committee will be submitting a report on the decision within seven to ten days. The hearing they held was a run-of-the-mill housekeeping meeting for the KHL it would seem. In the hearing, they also discussed the statuses of Kirill Kabanov and Igor Bobkov among others. Rather interesting.

I certainly don’t know what was written into the KHL contract of Alexandrov and whether Severstal really does have the place to retain his rights upon his return to the league. It was a one-year absence. But then again, I don’t feel comfortable wading into the waters of KHL contracts that are riddled with loopholes and can be changed on a whim.

Why does this matter to Bruins fans? Well, it seems like there is still the off-chance this falls apart. It’s extremely slight, though. Cherepovets is either taking this case on as a symbolic matter (they’re not to be pushed around by big markets) or because they highly value and prize Alexandrov. Perhaps a little of both, seeing as Alexandrov was also a native and homegrown talent for the team who was brought up through their system.

It seems that is one of the great challenges for the KHL–it’s troubles with player rights. There is still a strong paternalistic component to Russian hockey, or so it seems The vast geography of Russia and the states of the former Soviet Union lend themselves to the clustering of players in geographic areas and their sheltering by big teams and their youth programs. Streamlining this must be a priority for the league.

Alexandrov will likely remain in the KHL regardless. My odds are on SKA. Will the Bruins make an announcement tomorrow? We can only hope. It will help clarify matters. Sure, it’s small fry. He was by no means a highly touted Bruins prospect, and is a minor bit in the grand scheme of things, but there were hopes for him to join Boston in the next few years. Those hopes, at least for now, are dashed.

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