Nedved, who recently fired his longtime agent, Tony Kondel, and hired the respected Mike Barnett (whose clients include Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull), has a history of sitting down for his rights. After scoring 38 goals for the Canucks in 1992-93, he became a restricted free agent but didn't sign with a team until March '94, when the Blues gave him $4.05 million for three years. Then, after being acquired by the Penguins, he sat out the '96 preseason before agreeing to a one-year, $1.7 million deal.
This time, however, Nedved miscalculated. His contract demands weren't ridiculous—16 centers and 32 forwards will earn more than $3 million this year—but Pittsburgh general manager Craig Patrick, restrained by the Penguins' financial woes and fed up with Nedved's and Kondel's hardballing ways, refused to buckle. Now Nedved is playing for a minimal wage (no more than $150,000) in the IHL and hoping Pittsburgh will trade him. Unfortunately he has been devalued in the eyes of NHL general managers wary of both the ice time Nedved has missed and his attitude. Says Mighty Ducks general manager Pierre Gauthier, "I wouldn't pay him as much money now as I would have a year ago."
The Sutter Family
Let's Talk to The Expert
When center Jeff Shantz was traded from the Blackhawks to the Flames last month, he completed the circuit of the Sutter brothers, hockey's hard-nosed sextet. Brian Sutter is Calgary's coach, and Shantz had previously been coached by Duane in the minors and by Darryl in Chicago. He also roomed with forwards Brent and Rich during his five-year stint with the Blackhawks, and worked at a hockey camp with Ron.
Shantz extols all the Sutters for their dedication to hockey and says that Brent is the brother "most likely to put Vaseline in your helmet" and the one you'd least like to meet in an alley. Because he has had three Sutters in his face as coaches and three as roommates on the road, Shantz is qualified to answer a more intimate inquiry: Which Sutter has the best breath? "Hmmm, that's tough," Shantz says. "They're all bad."