Blue Jackets: Players cut short their stay in Europe

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Blue Jackets forwards Derick Brassard and Derek Dorsett have returned to North America only three weeks after signing to play in Austria during the NHL lockout.

Dorsett said he and the club, EC Salzburg Red Bulls, had a mutual clause to end his contract on Dec. 15, which he initiated.

Brassard’s reason for parting with the club is less clear but much more contentious.

EC Salzburg issued a scathing news release titled “Brassard Breaches Terms Of Contract,” stating that the 25-year-old had notified the club of his intention to stay only a week ago, when the deadline arrived for Salzburg to complete its roster for an upcoming tournament.

“Derick Brassard has turned his back on the club today, despite contractual obligations and reassurances to the contrary,” the release said.

“After the player … cleared things from the dressing room on Monday morning without warning, the Red Bulls tried in vain to contact him by telephone. The powers that be at the Salzburg club then contacted Brassard personally to let him know they were unwilling to let (him) go. He was told not to do anything hasty that he might later regret, and he was reminded in no uncertain terms of the contractual situation. Unfortunately, Brassard still flew out of Salzburg (on Tuesday) morning.”Brassard played six games with the Red Bulls, scoring four goals with an assist. The club, which has declined to comment beyond the release, said it plans to notify the International Ice Hockey Federation — the world governing body of hockey — of the matter.

Brassard told The Dispatch via text message that he wanted to return to North America until the end of the lockout.

His agent, Allan Walsh, blasted Salzburg, noting that two other NHL players — Tobias Enstrom of Winnipeg and David Clarkson of New Jersey — had signed with the club and abruptly left within a month.

“There is no more unprofessional organization in all of Europe,” Walsh said. “The club is misrepresenting the facts in an attempt to justify to their fans and media why NHL players keep leaving.”

aportzline@dispatch.com

@aportzline

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