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Off the Ice: Fiddler’s absence reveals real roster deciders

When forward Vernon Fiddler chose to leave the Phoenix Coyotes during free agency over the summer, he left because he was going to get paid more and felt that he had done his share on the ice, right?

Well, sort of.

According to The Arizona Republic, the reason Fiddler left is quite the gray area.

As far as the Coyotes are concerned, Fids didn’t re-sign because he didn’t get back to the team.

“We liked Vern,” [Coyotes GM Don Maloney] said. “We had a promise from his agent that before he would agree to anything that he would get back to us, and he didn’t.”

Fair enough. Not the most professional way to conduct yourself, but OK, I can deal with that. However, this is where things get a little off.

“It came up to the last day, and things just took a little longer than I thought they would, maybe it was a sign that it was time to move on,” [Fiddler] said, adding that the two teams over “very, very similar contacts,” but “it was just time.”

So, let me get this straight. The Coyotes said that Fiddler didn’t get back to them and Fiddler said that the Coyotes were taking longer than expected. Hmmmm…

By my math, the reason that the Coyotes lost Fiddler is not because of a desire for a change of scenery, a bigger contract or a shot at the Stanley Cup. Nope, as far as I can tell, Fids left because his agent decided it was time.

This is becoming a huge problem in professional sports. Agents are deciding too much of their “clients'” future with that 10 percent payout in mind. For a team like the Coyotes, this does not bode well.

The Coyotes are likely not a Stanley Cup caliber team. Don’t get me wrong, they have a great team this year and have a solid shot at the playoffs, but they don’t have a sensational star because they cost money, something the NHL-owned Coyotes don’t have.

I don’t classify Fiddler as a star, because he’s not. But this new matter makes me question the Coyotes’ off-season moves and current trades, both completed and failed, as to who the real beneficiary is: the Coyotes, the player or their agent. I’ll give you, say, a 10 percent shot you know where that decision is coming from.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Off the Ice” is a new portion of
ArizonaSports.com where Carter Nacke will be covering and
discussing the Phoenix Coyotes throughout the season.
While the page is under construction, you can contact him
at cnacke@arizonasports.com, tweet him at @carternacke or follow the blog’s twitter feed at @OfftheIce620. Thanks for reading.