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NHL Notebook: Vladimir Tarasenko signs with Ottawa Senators and Ex-NHLPA employee alleges association concealed fraud
By Zach Laing7 months ago
Just like we all expected, the Ottawa Senators signed forward Vladimir Tarasenko to a one-year contract on Thursday.
The 31-year-old just wrapped up a brief stint with the New York Rangers after being traded their last season, and his ability to find twine is what caught the eye of Senators GM Pierre Dorion.
“Vladimir’s a natural goal scorer,” he said Thursday. “He’s a dynamic player who can score from anywhere in the offensive zone, as well as an underrated playmaker who’s made a career out of driving offence for he and his linemates.
The deal will see Tarasenko, who scored 18 goals and 50 points in 69 games with the Rangers and St. Louis Blues last year, carry a $5-million cap hit.
Here’s more from Daily Faceoff’s Mike Gould:
After two injury-plagued seasons, Tarasenko set new career highs with 48 assists and 82 points with the Blues in 2021–22. On February 9, 2023, the Blues traded Tarasenko to the Rangers alongside defenseman Niko Mikkola in exchange for forward Sammy Blais, defenseman Hunter Skinner, and a 2023 first-round pick (Theo Lindstein).Through 675 career games over parts of 11 NHL seasons with the Blues and Rangers, Tarasenko has collected 270 goals and 574 points. He’s added 44 goals and 64 points in 97 career Stanley Cup Playoff contests.Tarasenko now joins a Senators team that swapped out Alex DeBrincat for Dominik Kubalik and a collection of additional pieces earlier this summer. Ottawa finished sixth in the Atlantic Division with a 39–35–8 record in the 2022–23 season.
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Ex-NHLPA employee alleges fraud
Testy allegations from an ex-NHLPA employee was heard in a Toronto courtroom on Wednesday.
The $8.7-million lawsuit comes as former association technical support analyst Allan Etherington alleges the NHLPA fired him as he “refused to keep quiet about a colleague who was allegedly defrauding the union of more than $100,000.”
The alleged fraud, the lawsuit states, claims the NHLPA “covered up the fraud and created a toxic work environment before firing him in February of 2019,” TSN’s Rick Westhead reported, adding other accusations towards the union of “income tax and insurance fraud.
In the eyes of the NHLPA, however, the lawsuit “contains bare, unfounded and irrelevant allegations, including of criminal and/or illegal conduct, and is scandalous and inflammatory.”
Etherington alleges in his claim that Stephen Frank, the NHLPA’s former director of technology and security information technology, was allowed to resign from the NHLPA with then-executive director Don Fehr’s good wishes in December of 2018.Frank’s exit came after the union learned through investigations conducted by Ernst & Young and CGI Inc. that Frank had used his own outside company, GeekFork Inc., to misappropriate money through the purchase of expensive computer equipment, Etherington alleges.Etherington’s statement of claim alleges that he was resolving a print server issue with a colleague on Oct. 9, 2018, when they discovered an email chain between Frank and an executive with Darktrace, a U.K.-based cybersecurity company that signed an agreement with the NHLPA in March 2018 to provide the NHLPA with an artificial intelligence-powered product that helped protect confidential player information.New documents filed in court include an affidavit sworn in Toronto on May 30 by NHLPA lawyer Roman Stoykewych.Stoykewych wrote that he was provided in mid-October 2018 with a copy of emails between Frank and a salesperson at Darktrace.Stoykewych wrote that the NHLPA hired lawyers from the Toronto firm McCarthy Tetrault LLP on Oct. 24, 2018, to provide legal advice about Frank’s employment and the union’s investigation of him.“It was of utmost importance to the NHLPA that our investigation proceed in as confidential a manner as possible,” Stoykewych wrote. “As part of maintaining the confidentiality of our investigation, the number of NHLPA employees involved in it, or aware that it was ongoing, was kept to a minimum. In addition, internal discussions relating to it… were held in person, or if that was not possible, over the telephone or by text message.”
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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