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The Keith Thachuk Rule

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By Brad Lee

The Ottawa Sun newspaper up north in Canada needs some spell checkers. Or fact checkers. Or less medicinal marijuana. Something. Let's go right to the evidence written by Bruce Garrioch.

The Keith Thachuk Rule. Nice.

(In case you can't read that, the subhead says, "NHL GMs want to ban Thachuck-style rentals.")

NAPLES, FLA. -- Call it the Keith Thachuk rule.

Personally, I'd call it the Keith Tkachuk rule. Or the Doug Weight rule. Or the Be Kind, Rewind rule. But maybe that's just that's me.

NHL GMs want to stop the practice of players being dealt at the trade deadline, only to return to their former clubs as unrestricted free agents weeks after the season ends.

Because the term "unrestricted free agent" is actually a misnomer? You mean a "unrestricted free agent" should be able to sign with any team he wants in the league...except one? Since the rule would make a player a not totally-free agent, maybe we should call them "heavily discounted agents" or "clearance agents" or "partially restricted free agents" or "indentured servants."

Ending these short-term rentals, along with bigger nets, are the big items on the agenda as GMs gather here today for meetings ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Those are the big items on the agenda? Apparently the league wants bigger nets because the league is full of Michelin Man goaltenders and a new rule restricting player movement because two players in two years decide to return their old teams after getting traded at the deadline. How many guys have been traded at the deadline? And in case you have a short term memory, how many guys have re-signed with their old team? Oh that's right, two.

Sources say several GMs didn't like St. Louis winger Thachuk being dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers at last year's deadline, then simply returning to the Blues on July 1.

My sources say 29 unnamed NHL GMs didn't like the fact that their teams didn't win the Stanley Cup last year. My sources also say that close to 29 teams didn't want to re-sign Weight and that guy with the apparently hard to spell last name when they were free agents.

There's been talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs doing the same thing with captain Mats Sundin: Sending him to a contender for the playoffs and bringing him back as an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

Oh, because that would be horrendous, a player choosing where he'd like to sign a contract when he's a free agent (a concept this league HATED in the early 1990s when the Blues upset the apple cart and started actually signing free agents). And wouldn't it be horrible for the fans in Toronto who pay the highest-priced tickets in the league to see a guy they love and consider the heart of the franchise? Obviously these abominations must be thwarted. Maybe I'm just wearing my "The NHL Hates The Blues And I Feel Persecuted" hat.

It's believed the GMs will discuss a policy to block rental players from returning to their former teams for one full season.

"What we're discussing is making a rental player a true 'rental' and then keeping that player from going back to his former team for one full season," said an NHL executive. "Not many people like the situation where you send a player to be another team, get something in return and then bring the player back.

"I have spoken to a number of teams that didn't like what happened with Thachuk."

Apparently what happened with Weight they were fine with because they think he sucks. And that Thachuk reference is getting really annoying. The grammar fairy is also dying a little inside when she reads, "send a player to be another team." Ugh. Let's just wrap this up.

Blocking the return of rental players would need approval from the NHL's board of governors and a blessing from the Players' Association before take effect.

Translation: The Players Association will never allow this to happen, so most of this article is entirely a moot point. But the poor spelling is still kind of humorous.

Bigger nets have been on the agenda at past GMs' meetings, but there's a bigger push this time with scoring down.

"If they're not going to make equipment bigger, then we might as well have bigger nets," said the executive.

Did the writers strike affect all the newspaper copy editors in Ottawa? That last sentence written a different way means: "If they keep the equipment the same size, we might as well install jumbo nets the size of an elephant." The grammar fairy is crying.

I'm all Thachuked out. Maybe the Sun meant this guy.