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IC Radio: Interview with Tom Lynn

Former Minnesota Wild Assistant GM and current player agent for Veritas Hockey Tom Lynn came on Saturday’s show to discuss the GM’s meetings, the Radulov situation and realignment.

The Illegal Curve Hockey Show airs Saturdays from noon to 3pm on TSN Radio 1290 in Winnipeg. The following interview is transcribed and paraphrased from the latest episode. Subscribe on iTunes and have the podcast automatically sent to you as soon as it becomes available. The full episode is also available at

On Saturday’s Illegal Curve Hockey Show, former Assistant GM of the Minnesota Wild and current player agent for Veritas Hockey Tom Lynn came on the show to provide insight on what happens behind the scenes at the GM’s meetings and other hockey issues.

On the organization of the GM’s Meetings

“As an assistant GM I would attend two formally per year. From the outside it seems more complex than it is. Gary Bettman is a very strong commissioner, he sets an agenda in advance, and he’s already spoken to his governors, his important GM’s and his staff about what needs to be discussed. It’s not a free for all, it’s a very set agenda, he brings things up one at a time and people speak in order.”

“Like any business, the chairman of a board of directors isn’t going to go into a meeting not knowing which way things are going, and which way they should go. The same thing happens in a hockey context in the NHL.”

On the Alexander Radulov Situation

“Like so many of the tough issues in hockey, there’s no easy answer. On the one side, you feel bad for Nashville because the player took off on them, and didn’t observe his contract. You feel for Nashville, if they have a chance to get this asset back, they should be able to do it. On the other hand, all of the other teams have been observing these rules, that once the guy plays in Europe, after the season starts he has to clear waivers to come back.”

“The normal waiver rules, would have applied had the league decided to apply them. Since this specific circumstance was not written up in the league by-laws which control waivers and the CBA, the league had discretion on this. They could have said, well the rules said if you play in Europe after the start of the season they have to go through waivers. That would have been a legitimate position. Nashville’s side is, it’s not our fault. The guy who makes out here is Radulov who took off on his contract ,made millions in Russia, and now will come back to finish out here and become a free agent. He’s the only one here with no pain in the game”

On the concern that more players will “pull a Radulov”

“The concern was raised in the GM meetings. Considering the much lower number of Russians who are drafted and play in the NHL compared to 2003, that’s playing out in the market. But if you look at this year’s draft, the top rated player Yakupov is Russian. You’ve seen Semin, Filatov, and other players have issues with their team after being drafted in the top five. It’s a definite concern and what do you do about it? I don’t know the answer, but it’s a concern.”

On the upcoming labour negotiations

“As an independent person I would say I don’t have a real sense on negotiations yet because they haven started. I would say that both sides have very experienced labour guys. Commissioner Bettman has been through it in the NBA and NHL several times. Don Fehr has been going through labor negotiations since you guys were watching hockey from your crib. If there is a delay of any sort in the season, I would say it would be part of a strategy and part of a very experienced process. Not like last time when everyone was wondering what was happening.”

On upcoming realignment

“Realignment was pushed for years. Since we came into the league, when I first did the Wild’s charter schedule, and realized we were in the air more than any other team. Our closed rival was 1480 miles away in Vancouver. I went to the meetings and said to Boston, how would you like to be in a division with Dublin, Ireland. It’s kind of what we are facing, we should get more geographically smart. Nobody listened for a long time, then finally the TV gods aligned  so it looked good for the league.”

“Your question is how badly did the league handle it? I don’t know what the leagues goals were, if they wanted it to get done, they could have made it happen. They presented to the NHLPA, they said here’s the deal, you have x amount of time to ask questions, the NHLPA started asking questions and the league said, you have until Friday. Before the NHLPA could really digest it and analyze it the league said, ok the deals off.”

“It’s not really a GM issue, it sounds like it, but this is a TV and attendance issue. The league and the owners want teams to play in their own time zones as much as possible so when you are on TV you’re not on at 10:30 at night, or 4:30 in the afternoon.”

Tune in to the next edition of the Illegal Curve Hockey Show, this Saturday, March 24th, 2012 from Noon-3pm on TSN Radio 1290