Tuesday, February 19, 2008

These are the days of Tomas Kaberle's NTC

Let's recap what we know about Tomas Kaberle's no-trade clause (NTC).

Nothing, apparently.

Well, that's not completely true. We've heard plenty about it over the years. Let's walk through the timeline:

- When he signed his deal, there was confusion over whether it included a NTC. Shortly after resigning, he was heavily rumored to be part of a package headed to Edmonton for Chris Pronger. Perhaps due to confusion caused by those rumors (his NTC wouldn't kick in until his old deal expired), several reports listed Kaberle as not having a no-trade clause.

- Except that... Kaberle did have an NTC. So over the past year, the articles started listing Kaberle as a member of the NTC brigade, just like Sundin, McCabe and Tucker.

- Except that... Over the weekend, a handful of reports began to mention that there was a crucial exemption to the clause, and that Kaberle could be traded during the summer following a non-playoff season. In other words, he was safe at the deadline but could be moved after this season. The obvious implication was that he may be more likely to waive his clause now if the right deal came along, since he'd lose all control in a few months.

- Except that... Today, Howard Berger is reporting that this exemption on Kaberle's no-trade clause doesn't kick in until the final year of the deal -- meaning he's safe through 2010.

My head hurts.

Hey, here's a question: How is it possible that nobody knows this stuff?

The problem isn't limited to Kaberle. Pavel Kubina's clause may not be a blanket no-trade -- it may only allow him to specify a limited number of teams he could be dealt to. Or maybe not. It depends which article you're reading on which day.

And here's the twist: I don't think this is a media problem. Those guys get kicked around plenty (including here) and it's usually deserved, but not this time. This is an NHL problem. The league needs to make sure that this sort of critical information is readily available and reported correctly, and they're not doing it.

Here's Mike Brophy writing on The Hockey News web site. Not only does he report the (apparently wrong) information about Kaberle's NTC voiding after the Leafs miss the playoffs this year, but he lists Kubina as being tradable to "pre-specified teams". OK. Which teams? How many? Specified by who? And when? Is there already a list in place?

Brophy doesn't say, presumably because he doesn't know. If a senior writer for The Hockey News can't find this information, who could?

And we haven't even touched on the mass confusion over salary cap numbers. More than one reporter has taken it on himself to crunch the numbers in an attempt to estimate how much cap space the Leafs have committed to next year. That's great, but why do they need to do this in the first place? Why isn't there a page on the NHL web site that lists everything?

Can you imagine an NFL reporter not knowing where the Dallas Cowboys stood with regards to the salary cap? He'd be laughed at. But in the NHL, everyone is left to make their best guess.

This is the kind of information that's important to serious hockey fans. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any working at NHL headquarters.

1 comment:

  1. Kaberle wouldn't waive his no trade clause to go to Philly. The Flyers had been trying to get him, but gave up last night on it and traded for another defenseman.

    Kaberle was smart on that one.