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Senators Might Sue Yashin


The Ottawa Senators threatened to sue holdout center Alexei Yashin as their dispute over a contract extension continued.

Senators general manager Marshall Johnston also rejected the latest contract proposal from Yashin and his agent Mark Gandler, and announced the suspension of the holdout center on Monday.

In a prepared statement, Johnston confirmed he met with Gandler over the weekend but stood firm on the team's stance that Yashin would not get a new deal.

"We talked on Saturday," Johnston said in the release. "In one of our conversations, Mr. Gandler proposed that we enter into a new contract for three years, beginning with this year. Salary levels would be $3.6 million US for this year, followed by $11 million and $12 million for the following years."

Johnston rejected the demands and wrote a letter to Gandler on Sunday, restating the team's earlier position that it would negotiate a future contract "only after substantially all of the obligations" had been performed under the present contract.

Johnston also formally notified Yashin of his immediate and indefinite suspension for not showing up to training camp, but left open the door for his return if he chooses to honor his contract.

The Senators also threatened legal action should Yashin skip the entire season.

Johnston wrote in a letter to Gandler that "the club may suffer financial damages as a result of (Yashin's) breach of contract and will take appropriate measures to recover compensation from Alexei for any such damages. The extent of damages may become more clear as the season is completed, and action under the contract to receive compensation will be commenced at the appropriate time."

Yashin, the Senators' leading scorer last season with 44 goals and 94 points, said he would not report unless his contract was renegotiated. He is in the final year of a five-year, $13.5 million contract which would pay him $3.6 million this season.

"Unless Alexei's under contract for more than one year, at this point I don't think it makes sense for him to report," Gandler told the Globe and Mail. "It would be a distraction if he was there and things didn't work out."

Johnston said that holding out for the entire season would not solve Yashin's problems.

"If Alexei does not deliver a full season of play this year, he will be obligated to deliver to our club a full season in the next year in which he decides to play in the National Hockey League, under the terms and conditions of his contract for this year," Johnston wrote. "Restricted free agency would arise only after that performance."

Gandler, who made similar comments to the Ottawa Citizen, said the latest contract proposal was meant to help the Senators' inancial plight.

"I made a proposal to Marshall to see if we can help them with their budget this year in return for some help on our budget next year," Gandler said.

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