In the end it was much ado about ... something vague. As the CBA that has served the league and players
so well nears its expiration, they finally clarified a burning, urgent question contained within its foggy inner clauses: You understand, Captain, Lubomir Visnovsky's no-trade clause does not exist nor will it ever exist.
As announced by the Islanders -- and bantered about in comments here -- the arbitrator has upheld the June trade of Visnovsky to the Islanders for a 2013 2nd-round pick. The strong top four initially envisioned when the trade was first consummated shall* happen. He can now help the power play and help Mark Streit mentor the young Islanders
Jedi defensemen now pushing for jobs. (*Barring catastrophic lockout.)
Visnovsky's agent Neil Sheehy reiterated again that this was "a dispute between the NHL and the NHLPA [and not a dispute with the Islanders]," but surely there was more to it than that.
As fans and writers tried to figure out how an NHL-approved trade could possibly be an invalid trade, his case initially looked thin, then it looked strong enough to make Isles fans nervous, and finally in retrospect it looked rather shaky after all. (It received extra frivolous attention when Visnovsky wrecked a race car in between.)
It should have been open-and-shut all along: Was the NTC upheld by each successive team or not? But it sounds like hurt feelings -- Visnovsky's feelings are often complex -- and external CBA politics also fueled this appeal: Providing a little more detail in what instigated this case, the Post's Brett Cyrgalis today adds that Visnovsky felt betrayed by Ducks GM Bob Murray, who allegedly assured Visnovsky after the season that he would not be traded.
The lesson here, as always in life: Get it in writing.