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09-17-2004, 11:17 PM
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I can't say I'm thrilled about this, but please spare me the histrionics tossing around words like "greedy" or "gutless". Jamie's already played 100+ games in Hartford, so it's not like he's scared or has to prove himself at that level.

Remember he's was basically holding out for insurance, not for his NHL pay. Of all the two-way contract players that could be sent to Hartford, he easily has the greatest differential between NHL and AHL pay. If he was solely intent on avoiding the AHL and cashing in in Europe, he (or most likely his agent) would have lined up a team a month ago.

As it is, he was in negotiations with the Rangers up to his deadline. By waiting so long, he really hurt his chances of signing with a team in a better league. By now, most of the top European leagues have already filled out their rosters, signed their allotment of foreign players, and finished training camp. Actually, I think the elite leagues (RSL, SEL, SM-Liga, Extraliga) would be out of Jamie's reach anyway. Too many native sons returning form the lockout. But if he had decided earlier, he could have found a team in Germany or Switzerland, which are better leagues than Italy.

As for the Italian League, I dont know about that(except I heard that that some of the teams in the Italian Alps play in outdoor rinks, which is kind of neat). However, the level of play will be higher than usual. Optimistic Canadian and American players who didn't line up their ducks in finding a place to play before the lockout, and aren't invited to play in the OSHL will gravitate to Italy as one of the leagues of last resort. And players in Europe who normally hold down spots in other leagues will be bumped out by locked out NHL players and be looking at other leagues to play in.

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