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Murray to Mironov: Go back to Russia
By K.C. Johnson Tribune Staff Writer
And anyone wondering when negotiations might begin again need only listen to General Manager Bob Murray, who dropped this bombshell in response to Mironov's comment Tuesday that business in Russia isn't even this unfair.
"We'll send him two plane tickets whenever he wants and he can get his money from the Red Army if that's the way he feels," Murray said.
Players and coaches are still singing the company line--saying they can concentrate only on who is currently with the team--but frustrations are beginning to show.
"It's hard to believe that $9.6 million won't bring him here," Hawks coach Lorne Molleken said.
The Hawks broke off negotiations late Tuesday after the two sides couldn't agree on how to split that $9.6 million over three years. Mironov's camp, which includes agent Paul Theofanous, wanted less money in the first year and more money in the final year to soften the financial burden of time missed this season and to set up the restricted free agent defenseman for his next contract.
Murray became disgusted when Theofanous rejected a final offer late Tuesday of $3 million for the first season, $3.2 million for the second and $3.4 million for the third. A source familiar with the negotiations said Mironov's camp countered with a proposal of $3 million, $3.25 million and then $3.5 million.
"It's always something else, always another way to try to get money back that they've lost from the start of the season," Murray said. "We told them in writing two or three times there will be no retroactive pay. That's upset them because other teams have found ways to get money back (to holdouts.)
"We took the offer off the table because we were going nowhere. And I'm not moving him. He may sit forever. I feel no sympathy for a player who made $1.2 million last season and for two straight days has turned down $9.6 million.
"It's beyond me, especially when he's never won a Stanley Cup. He's never been an All-Star. He's never been a Norris Trophy finalist."
Theofanous stayed quiet Wednesday, except to dispute he is seeking retroactive pay, but is still seething because he says the Hawks backed out of an oral agreement for a deal last Friday. Theofanous said Murray told him Hawks President Bill Wirtz killed the deal, leading to the agent's request to negotiate with Wirtz.
Wirtz said Wednesday he supported his general manager, releasing this statement: "I support Bob Murray 100 percent. Any further negotiations will all be handled through Bob Murray."
Of course, when those negotiations might happen is another question altogether. Theofanous said he received another faxed letter on Wednesday from Murray that eliminated even a one-year offer.
With such dim prospects, Mironov's potential teammates weighed in on the issue after practice Wednesday.
"I don't feel he's deserted us," said Tony Amonte, who makes $2.9 million
a year. "I do feel we need him on the ice badly."