It wasn't the end result center Sean Bergenheim or agent
Mark Gandler wanted, but they have accepted the policy of Islanders owner
Charles Wang against signing players after training camp and are trying to make
the best of the situation. Bergenheim will play for Frolunda in the Swedish
Elite League and for the Finnish national team this season and will not request
Gandler was unsuccessful in his attempts to persuade Islanders general
manager Garth Snow to make an exception to club policy for Bergenheim, who
signed with a Russian team rather than accept less money for a one-way contract
that would have made him an Islander this season. Unhappy with Yaroslavl,
Bergenheim left with the hope of returning to the Isles.
"I spoke with Garth a couple of times," Gandler said yesterday. "The team's
decision, as it has been consistently, was that they would like to sign Sean
for next year, not for this year. They're firm about it, and that's where it
"I'm not upset with this. I wish they were different, but the team made a
decision, and we have to live by it ... No, we have not asked for a trade only
because, if they wanted to trade him, they would have traded him anyway. We
have no other choice. We're going to abide by what they have decided to do and
wait until next year."
Bergenheim is assured of ample ice time with Frolunda, which is expected to
struggle to make the playoffs in one of Europe's most competitive leagues.
Gandler said Bergenheim also will play with the Finnish team in all tournaments
leading to the World Championships.
"These two venues combined should provide for Sean the development he needs
to become a better player," Gandler said. "In the end, it may be the thing he
needed. It just remains to be seen."
Islanders coach Ted Nolan steered clear of the dispute between Bergenheim
and the organization despite the potential to add help this season.
"I've never seen Bergenheim, but I've heard some good things about him,"
Nolan said recently. "Everybody tells me, 'He's your type of player, and he
works hard.' But I've heard that about others and haven't seen it."