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IIHF toughens player transfer rules, too late for Radulov

The New York Times' Jeff Klein gives us the details on new rules set down by the International Ice Hockey Federation that should prevent players and clubs from avoiding international transfer agreements and engaging in "contract-jumping", as Alexander Radulov did last summer by leaving the Nashville Predators in the middle of a valid contract to sign with a KHL club.

In an explicit reaction to last summer’s Alexander Radulov case, the I.I.H.F. announced that contract jumpers would be banned from playing for a four- to six-month period. Offending players would also be banned from international competition for one to three years, and offending clubs would be banned from the transfer market for 3 to 24 months.

A national federation that failed to stop a club from luring a player under contract in another country would face a $4,500 to $13,500 fine for each game the contract-jumper played with his new club.

It's interesting to see how the penalties apply at the individual, team and national level; that would seem to make for an effective mechanism to ensure that all parties respect and adhere to valid contracts.

The new rules aren't going into effect until July 1, 2010, however, along with a new edition of the IIHF Rule Book, which includes a few tweaks which have recently been adopted in the NHL.  Faceoff locations will be restricted to the nine designated faceoff dots, line changes will be disallowed after an icing call, and the initial faceoff for a power play will take place in the offensive zone. Those three specific examples go into effect this summer, so they'll be used in the Winter Olympics coming up in Vancouver.

Contrary to another article which has hit the web, this new IIHF stance on contract-jumping should have no effect on Alexander Radulov's ability to participate in the Olympics for Team Russia, since it won't apply until next summer.