Vadim Shipachyov has talent. But he's burnished his skills in an environment different from the NHL. So there's a need to adapt. At 30 and with healthy career opportunities back in the KHL, he's elected to return to his original course and leave the NHL for others.
Golden Knights GM George McPhee put a bow on l'affaire Shipachyov on Thursday morning at City National Arena.
Video: McPhee speaks about agreement with Shipachyov
"Vadim has voluntarily retired from the NHL and can now play in the KHL with our consent and we have provided that consent. He does not require waivers and he can play immediately," stated McPhee. "He has returned the share of the signing bonus that we paid to him. He was entitled to 8/164ths of the signing bonus from the time that he was here and not suspended and the rest has been returned to us. Vadim did not want to put in any time at the American Hockey League level and he did not want to be traded to another club, which we could have done. He just wanted to go home so we've accommodated him and wish him well. He's a good player and a good guy and it just didn't work for us and for him here. The good news is the contract is off the books and a roster spot was opened up."
McPhee, whether it was an act of diplomacy or not, didn't throw shade on the player. And why should he? Shipachyov's decision not to report to the AHL is understandable. It's not what he signed up for even if it is part and parcel with most players and their journey to the NHL.
"Sometimes it just doesn't work. Sometimes the player you see in Europe isn't the player you see here and that's the risk you take. When you sign them, you're hoping that it works out and it doesn't always work out. He needed to assimilate a little bit more and work on his pace of play and we were willing to work with him," said McPhee, explaining Shipachyov's first demotion to the AHL as a roster move the second as a necessity in the player's development. "Not necessarily the first time around- it was a roster move- the second time around when we sent him to Chicago he needed some time to play and to see if he could adjust his pace of play to the North American game. It's a smaller rink. It's a quicker rink. But he wasn't willing to do that. We wanted to work with him. There's no shame with going to the American Hockey League. Seventy five percent of the players in this league have played there. He didn't want to do it and he didn't want to be traded either…You just can't take a player who is not quite ready to play for your team and put him in the lineup especially when the number of players that we have that are playing so well at center ice was happening. So that's what transpired and again, we wanted to work with him and he could've gone there and done it but he wasn't up to it and wanted to go home."
Video: George McPhee addresses media on Thursday
Gallant has his players working at a very high rate. He stands before them on a daily basis and asks of them to give. If you put an undeserving player in the lineup, the room knows and the situation becomes fraudulent.
Gallant is a standup guy who gives respect to his players and gets it back. It's a relationship built on trust and it must remain authentic in order to prosper.
McPhee could have forced Gallant to put Shipachyov in the lineup but the cost would have greatly outweighted any possible return.
McPhee and Gallant are together building a culture in Vegas. A culture which will give them the opportunity to reap benefits down the road.
In the end, this was the right move for Shipachyov and it was the right move for Vegas.