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NHL to set specific guidelines for next year’s free-agent interview period

Jul 10, 2013, 2:45 PM EDT

Bill Daly

The 48-hour interview period was a new wrinkle in this year’s free-agency frenzy. And perhaps not surprisingly, it arrived with a good deal of confusion.

In fact, partway through last week’s two-day tire-kicking window, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was forced to send out a memo to all 30 clubs reminding them that no offers could be made to free agents before July 5.

But not all general managers knew that. Or, if they did, it’s possible some of them just didn’t care.

“Truthfully, it felt a lot like July 1 of the past,” one GM told ESPN’s Craig Custance. “You felt like you needed to get in the game right away. The one positive is you didn’t have that ax hanging over your head, like if you didn’t get to that number right away, the player was signing elsewhere.”

Of course, for teams that played by the rules, it wasn’t particularly fair. And at least one club executive was left wondering why there weren’t any “repercussions.”

As a result, according to Custance, the NHL will be setting new guidelines for next year’s interview period, which will run five days from June 25-30.

Not that crystal-clear rules will stop everyone from bending, if not outright breaking, them. Without definitive proof, like the NHL found in the case of Scott Stevens, it’s extremely difficult to prove tampering.

  1. ibieiniid - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    the rare PHT story aimed specifically at NHL front office employees. i don’t often hate on stories on here, but this one was a snooze. even the most hardcore hockey fans didn’t really need that info.

    oh ya… offseason. i’m still in denial that i’m hockeyless right now

    • hockeyflow33 - Jul 10, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Ahh, willful ignorance

  2. ruthlessburgher - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    It’s extremely difficult to prove tampering?

    Well, the Lecavalier deal with Philly was announced publicly on July 2nd with contract numbers included. Even though they couldn’t officially put pen to paper until July 5th, how is this not an obvious circumvention of the rules in place?

    • jakeda2012 - Jul 11, 2013 at 12:37 AM

      Players that were bought out were allowed to negotiate and sign with teams before free agency began. The Canadiens announced the details for Briere’s new deal the day before free agency began. If you don’t believe me, here’s proof.
      http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2013/07/04/montreal-signs-briere-two-years-8-million/

  3. nolockoutpricks - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    learn the rules. he was bought out. therefore the july 5 free agency did not apply to him

    • dku5 - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      That is where the loophole/confusion arose. The buyout results in a UFA, but the player is not a true UFA. The NHL wants to define this for any remaining buyouts next year.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jul 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        It’s not difficult to understand, we’re message board commenters and we get it.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:45 AM

        Leafs fans need all the help they can get…

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