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Austrian team says Brassard “turned his back” on club, fires breach of contract accusation

Dec 19, 2012, 12:18 PM EDT

Derick Brassard Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derick Brassard has drawn the ire of Austrian team EC Red Bull Salzburg by leaving the club three weeks after signing a lockout deal.

Brassard left Austria on Tuesday under a hailstorm of controversy, laid out for all to see in a statement on the Red Bull website:

Canadian Derick Brassard today, Tuesday, left Salzburg for Canada. His departure has baffled EC Red Bull Salzburg, given that the 25-year-old forward personally confirmed his intention to stay with the Red Bulls only last Wednesday and had also been notified of the deadline for finalising the squad for the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (last Saturday). In the knowledge that his departure from the club after just one game – last Sunday against Linz – has necessitated the first of three possible exchanges, Derick Brassard has turned his back on the club today, despite contractual obligations and reassurances to the contrary.

After the player, who is contracted to the Columbus Blue Jackets, cleared his things from the dressing room on Monday morning without warning, the Red Bulls tried in vain to contact him by telephone. The powers that be at the Salzburg club then contacted Derick Brassard personally to let him know that they were unwilling to let the Canadian go. He was told not to do anything hasty that he might later regret, and he was reminded in no uncertain terms of the contractual situation. Unfortunately, Derick Brassard still flew out of Salzburg this morning.

The Red Bulls will be notifying the IIHF of the player’s breach of contract and will be seeking legal advice.

Brassard played just six games for Salzburg before departing, scoring 4G-1A-5PTS.

As for reasons why he might’ve left? According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, they might’ve come from behind the bench.

Salzburg coach Pierre Page — formerly an NHL coach with Quebec, Calgary, Minnesota and Anaheim — is regarded as one of the most demanding coaches in all of hockey.

One agent last month referred to him as the “John Tortorella of Europe,” a reference to the New York Rangers’ brash, confrontational coach.

It should be noted that Brassard’s Columbus teammate, Derek Dorsett, also recently left Red Bull. In speaking to the Dispatch, Dorsett said he returned to Canada “to wait for the NHL lockout to end,” then forwarded all further inquiries to his agent.

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Report: Clarkson, Enstrom leave Austrian team (Updated)

  1. 127taringa - Dec 19, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    A good sample for Euro clubs on what the NHL is dealing with. If a player is not treated like an emperor, they wont play.

    • hockeyflow33 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:21 AM

      I’m glad you came to that decision based off of absolutely no facts provided by either side other than the fact that he left

  2. colonelfancy - Dec 19, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    As time goes on, everybody, from the Commissioners to the players and their union, just looks worse and worse. Mighty bold of Mr. Brassard, a player who has yet to step up to any kind of mature level since arriving in Columbus anyway.

    • hockeyflow33 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:22 AM

      Howso, where in this article does it state why he left?

      • colonelfancy - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        On the Pro hockey talk page. It should be about twelve hours old. To paraphrase it, he failed to fulfill his obligations and followed Jackets teammate Derek Dorsett back to Canada after playing only six games.

  3. kicksave1980 - Dec 19, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    I’ve never been a fan of Pierre Page, stretching back to his days behind NHL benches. But with that said, Brassard surely knew that Page was coaching there before agreeing to play there. If he is one of the few who doesn’t know Page’s reputation, he should’ve done his homework. I know that sometimes things don’t work out for whatever reason, but if what the club says is true, it’s pretty gutless on Brassard’s part for clearing out without telling anyone.

  4. pensfan1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    To some extent I agree. A lot of players went over and a lot are coming back after a few games citing potential end to the lockout. Then again, a lot are coming back to rehab after being injured.

    If I owned an overseas club I would be thinking twice about ever signing an NHL player unless it was a genuine contract based on want and not labor issues. Best I could hope for would be a long lockout and contract with the player, even if only for a season. Worst case is they leave quickly becasue the lockout ends of for “personal” reasons and I’m left with a bench I hadn’t planned on. How do I put a team in front of my fans they can believe in?

    Either way it sends another ugly message about NHL management that affects more than us. Their lockout affects our fans and the long indecsisions affect fans overseas as well.

  5. jtrain1966 - Dec 19, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    The Players aren’t doing themselves any favors by breaching contracts ! How do they think this is going to look to a judge that’ll be ruling on decisions about the NHL, & NHLPAs battle over the CBA ? I think this kind of conduct could be detrimental to the case the NHLPA would make to any judge in regards to a new CBA being ratified .

    • hockeyflow33 - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:23 AM

      The depth of your legal knowledge is truly astounding

      • jtrain1966 - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        You know you don’t have to be an ass when you reply ! I was just stating if the league, or Bettman for that matter when they get into court they’re probably going to bring it up . I would certainly hope they wouldn’t but, you know Bettman he’ll probably will & this lockout will only drag on ! I only said it in regards to supporting the players, & how it may look to the judge, it’s called ” developing a pattern of character ” ! You know how people act !

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