Swedish league’s ban on NHL players ruled illegal

The Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) Swedish Hockey League’s ban on offering short-term contracts to lock-out affected NHL players for short-term contracts is in breach of competition laws.

Swedish league's ban on NHL players ruled illegal

The North American National Hockey League (NHL) season has yet to start due to an owner-imposed lockout, leaving many players seeking other options, including playing in Sweden.

While some players have already signed deals with Sweden’s second division league, the Hockeyallsvenskan, NHL players are currently prohibited from joining teams in the top league, the Elitserien.

Previously, the league decided that its 12 teams could not offer short-term contracts to NHL players.

However, after reviewing the arrangement, the Competition Authority has ruled that the NHL player ban is invalid.

According to the competition body, the league has no right to dictate to member teams whether or not they can offer contracts to NHL players.

“The Hockey League’s decision can be likened to a cartel. The clubs’ joint decision to boycott certain players is not permitted under competition rules,” Swedish Competition Authority general counsel Per Karlsson said in a statement on Friday.

“Each club must be able to make their own independent decisions about investments.”

The Competition Authority furthermore warned that if the league fails to lift the ban, it would be fined 20 million kronor ($3.06 million).

The agency emphasized that the decision is only temporary, but will remain in force pending the completion of it continuing investigation into the matter.

The NHL lockout began on September 15th this year after the collective bargaining agreement expired. The season was scheduled to commence on October 11th and the pre-season has already been cancelled.

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It’s official: Sweden’s Lundqvist is the NHL’s best goalie

Sweden's Henrik Lundqvist made 12 straight saves to win the goaltender competition at the NHL all-star game's skill night.

It's official: Sweden's Lundqvist is the NHL's best goalie
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers celebrates winning the Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak during the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills contest on Friday in San Jose, California. Photo: Thearon W. Hender
The New York Rangers goalie knocked off Russian Olympian Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who held the lead through several rounds after stopping the first eight shots he faced. 
The skill contests held on Friday night in San Jose, California also saw Edmonton Oilers speedster Connor McDavid win his third straight fastest skater title in a competition that included a female participant for the first time.
Canada's McDavid charged around the rink in just 13.37 seconds to eclipse Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel, who finished in 13.58 seconds at the SAP Center arena.
Kendall Coyne, who plays on the American women's national team, was invited to take part and finished seventh out of eight skaters, beating out Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller. Coyne cruised to a time of 14.34 seconds while Keller, who has 11 goals and 35 points with the Coyotes this season, finished in 14.52. 
“I thought she was unbelievable,” McDavid said. “She was absolutely flying out there.” 
Last year, Coyne's teammate Hilary Knight did the accuracy shooting drill, but her impressive time wasn't included in the official results.
Johnny Gaudreau defended his title in the puck control contest with a time of 27.045, and John Carlson, who captured a Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals last season, won the hardest shot contest with a blast of 102.8 mph.
The NHL all-star game will take place on Sunday.