(members of Metallurg Magnitigorsk show their excitement after being told they’ll someday have the chance to punch Sean Avery in the face)

It’s shameful enough the NHL would stoop to denying MLB.com of their most talented blogger this side of Tommy Lasorda. The Players’ Association alleges they were never consulted regarding the league’s scheme to open the 2008-2009 regular season in Sweden. From TSN’s Darren Dreger :

“The NHL put the cart before the horse.”

That’s how NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly responded mere minutes after the National Hockey League made a duel announcement about its plans to send 4 of its teams to Europe for both regular season action and an exhibition showdown.

The Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers will open the 2008 regular season in Prague and Stockholm with the Rangers also scheduled to play Metallurg Magnitigorsk in an exhibition entitled, the Victoria Cup.

Kelly says the players may not agree to play in the Victoria Cup, “There is a chance we wouldn’t consent,” Kelly added

Kelly says there are a lot of details and issues that need to be addressed and says todays announcement placed unfair pressure on the union. He believes the players association will require a minimum of 30 days to poll its players and sort through the concerns that will range from travel to sponsorship agreements.

“If they want us to be a true business partner, then they need to include us from the beginning,” Kelly concluded.