Blues will pay for tampering

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The St. Louis Blues found out that the NHL takes no-tampering rules seriously. The team will pay dearly for tampering with the New Jersey Devils' Scott Stevens in 1994.

The NHL fined the Blues record $1.5 million for negotiating with Stevens while he was still property of the Devils back in 1994.

Along with the fine, the Blues have been ordered to surrender one first-round pick to the Devils in any of the next five entry drafts. In addition, the Devils have been awarded the one-time right to trade first-round positions with St. Louis in any other draft within the same period.

After a four-year investigation, St. Louis was found to have "engaged in conduct detrimental to the league and the game of hockey," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, by negotiating terms of a free-agent offer sheet with Stevens prior to the July 1, 1994 expiration of his contract with New Jersey.

When the Blues signed Stevens as a restricted free agent to an offer sheet in July 1994, Devils president Lou Lamoriello claimed then Blues-president Jack Quinn tampered with his player before the start of the free agency period. Before the NHL started its investigation into the allegation, the Devils matched the offer sheet worth $17 million over four years.

"I view the Blues' conduct with respect to Mr. Stevens to be abhorrent and deserving of the harshest sanctions," said Bettman. "Violations of the no-tampering provisions directly undermine the integrity of the league and the game."

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