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Published: Friday, 7/31/2009

Russian team claims Wings' Hudler

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - Russia's Kontinental Hockey League completed a contract yesterday with Detroit Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler.

The KHL registered Hudler's two-year, $10 million contract in Moscow. A statement from the league cited two NHL teams' pursuit of players under contract with KHL clubs and a lack of a player transfer agreement between the leagues as the impetus for the move.

The KHL previously filed Hudler's contract July 9, but held off on the deal pending negotiations between the two leagues.

"I think they're trying to justify what is clearly an interference with contract by raising non-analogous situations," deputy NHL commissioner Bill Daly said.

Hudler's agent and Red Wings representatives attended a salary arbitration hearing yesterday in Toronto. In the event Hudler returns to the United States in the future, the hearing will determine his salary in a one-year contract with the Red Wings.

General manager Ken Holland said the team expects a ruling in the next few days.

Hudler made $1.15 million with the Red Wings last season, and he reportedly turned down Detroit's offer of $3 million per year for up to five years.

While Holland has said he expects Hudler to play in Russia next year, having the young forward develop for a brief time overseas may work out for the best.

"My hope is that he goes to Russia and he wants to come back and he's a better player," Holland said. "The cap maybe goes up a little bit and we're sitting at a real good situation."



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