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Saturday September 18, 2010 11:28 pm

Eric Belanger slammed by Washington Capitals

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL, Rumors,

Eric BelangerEric Belanger’s offseason wasn’t the typical team shopping that most free agents experience. Belanger signed a deal with the Phoenix Coyotes, but that came after a deal that was more than done fell through with the Washington Capitals. Belanger became the victim of the free agent game and in the end chose to walk away from the organization. But was it the right move for he and his agent to make this situation a public one?

Belanger finished last season with the Caps, after playing with them since being moved east from Minnesota at the trade deadline. After the season, he and his agent claim that Washington GM George McPhee offered him a verbal deal (actually through text message) and said that the club could not announce the agreement due to another trade in the works. In the meantime, McPhee needed to know that Belanger was committed to the Capitals, which he was and Belanger took himself off of the market.

As the trade negotiations took longer and longer, Belanger began to have concerns about the upcoming season. The Capitals emailed him training schedules and even helped his family move to Washington and registered his children in school. Things were going well, except Belanger had yet to sign his name to a contract. All of a sudden, McPhee backed away from Belanger and left him to fend for himself. That’s when Belanger quickly became a Coyote.

Belanger has taken the issue to the Players Association, but how much responsibility falls on him for getting into this situation? The Capitals told him they needed five days, but Belanger gave them over a month. While it was irresponsible of McPhee to lead Belanger on, but Belanger himself never should have let the Capitals go so long without offering him a physical contract. Since a deal was not signed, this issue doesn’t even fall under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so it will be interesting to see what kind of penalties arise for Belanger or the Capitals.



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