USA Hockey furious over four-nation trade
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- issues blanket statement against consolidation of European power
Posted 23:45 GMT, 01-25-2090
SALT LAKE CITY (NNL) - Russia, Germany, Finland and the Czech Republic finalized a shock trade overnight involving twelve players and a redistribution of cash totaling US$54M.
The player at the center of this shift is veteran defenseman Christian Yzerman, who has participated in three Olympics, four World Cups and two European Championships while playing for Russia and Norway. He was sent to the Czech Republic for goaltender Ivan Federov and a first-round draft pick in this year's IIHA World Draft.
This has since left the United States with its hands tied. It was previously reported that the Russians had promised Yzerman to the USA for goaltender Bruce Mitchell - who has been unhappy for some time over being demoted to serve as a backup to Gerry Isaacson - and two reserve players to be named upon the trade. Now, with the transfer window closed as of 7AM ET today, the United States finds itself short on motivated players leading up to the playoffs two weeks from now.
The USA is currently ranked 7th in the world and fighting for host-nation advantage.
The front office for USA Hockey is clearly embarassed upon being left out of the trade and sees the situation as a new row between North American and European ice hockey.
"We had negotiated with Russia in good faith," said Nicholas Sellers, general manager of USA Hockey, "It is disappointing to see that they have opted for regional prejudices over sportsmanship."
Last night's trade continues a long-standing trans-Atlantic rivalry between the United States and Europe. In 2087, then-free agent and wingman Peter Ruggieri was lured away by the United States for an undisclosed amount, after assurances that he would finish his storied career with Greece.
Yzerman brings to the Czechs a key component to their ailing back line, which has given up more penalties this season than any other team in Europe. In the last two seasons with Russia, Yzerman has committed an astounding six penalties in over ninety-seven games.
The Czech Republic will now begin a four-game stretch in Asia, beginning with Japan at Big Hat Stadium and ending with the Philippines at the PhilSport Complex. Yzerman joins the Czechs when they play China next Monday, when the deal becomes official.
In the blockbuster trade, Germany will also welcome back Hans Rumrich, who has played out a three-year contract in Finland and is expected to finish out his career with his home country. Finland received US$6.5M from Germany, only to spend US$5M on a Ryan McDyess transfer from Russia.
Meanwhile, the tension between Mitchell and USA Hockey continues to grow, as a failed trade exacerbates concerns as to the federation's public treatment of its players. Formal requests for interviews have been declined, but Jeffrey Woods, Mitchell's agent, said, "The bridges have certainly been burned. It's time for Mitchell to move on and start the next chapter of his career in Europe."