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RED FISHER, The Gazette
Published: Saturday, November 04, 2006

The International Ice Hockey Federation has a message for the NHL. Back off! You're killing us!

On Oct. 26, the international body completed a study based on research of European-trained players signed by NHL teams or their affiliated clubs and of European juniors recruited by the CHL. The picture isn't a pretty one.

- The study's conclusions are that Gary Bettman's gang is signing too many Europeans who are not of NHL-calibre.

- Too many Europeans who are potentially of NHL-calibre, but not yet NHL-ready, are signed prematurely.

- The average quality of European-trained NHL players remaining in their European clubs until they are NHL-ready is vastly superior to the quality of Europeans spending significant time in the minor leagues or who go through the major-junior system.

- The often repeated theory that a European player needs "adjustment" and "time to learn" the North American game is not supported in the data from the research.

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