Friday, October 31, 2008

Everyone shed a tear for Pavel

OK, that may be a little bit unfair, but everyone needs to know that the picture his agent Rolland Hedges is painting of his client is only one side of the story, and it's a side meant to protect his client should he ever decide he wants to play in the NHL.

The story - essentially that he's being strong-armed by his family to sign in Russia for significantly more money than he was making here - is believable enough, considering that Valentenko is only 21 and, according to Hedges, has been supporting his family since he was 15.

But what I find difficult to believe is that Valentenko was unable to convince his family that in the long-term, staying the course with his NHL career was the right move here.

Now, after pulling this stunt, his chances for a future NHL gig are practically nil, and he's banking on the KHL remaining a viable league. The odds aren't very good on that one, considering a lot of the teams are reportedly deep in the red already and it's very unlikely it will be able to consistently rival the NHL in terms of high-end salaries.

As long as the KHL is around, it will be a haven for washed up NHL guys looking to extend their careers by being overpaid over there, or as a second chance for guys who have been banished like Ray Emery.

But Valentenko's best shot at ensuring his family's long-term financial security was in North America, not Russia.

As far as the Habs are concerned, this isn't a devastating blow by any means because Valentenko was part of a deep pool of defence prospects, and though his eventual arrival in Montreal was likely, it wasn't guaranteed because there was a lot of competition coming down the pipe. If anything, Bob Gainey just lost a trade chip for this year's deadline, which might have, ironically enough, had Valentenko playing in the NHL by March.


Habitant d'Ecosse said...

this is indeed a sound analysis and your logic is correct....

so maybe the boy really did just need to be near his family after all. Even at 21 years old moving to the other side of the planet where the culture is vastly different and everyone speaks a different language can still be pretty daunting.

I have sympathy for the young man who felt he had to defy logic (for whatever reason) and turn his back on the opportunity for a wonderful career.

Arjun said...

I hate to say it but we should stop drafting Russians until the transfer agreement is signed and the KHL goes into the tank. Or if the Russians agree to send thousands of bottles of high end vodka at rock bottom prices for every player they steal. And then the Habs hand them out to all their fans. Then we should stock up on Russians.