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Laich's Arb. Hearing Scheduled for Today

I've heard nothing from the Caps about Brooks Laich and Milan Jurcina agreeing to new contracts, so it sounds like both players are going to allow an arbitrator to set their pay. I can understand why a player would want to go to arb--I just wouldn't want to be that player while club officials rip him apart during the hearing.

Laich's hearing is scheduled for this morning in Toronto. Jurcina's is scheduled for next Monday.

Decisions must be announced within 48 hours of the hearing. If the team doesn't like the decision, it can walk away. If that happens, the player can declare himself an unrestricted free agent.

Laich, a 24-year-old forward who bounced around from line to line last season, earned $606,100 for his eight goals and 10 assists. Whether the arbitrator sees fit to give him a raise remains to be seen.

I just pulled out my copy of the CBA and read up on the arbitration process. The arbitrator will consider the player's statistical performance as well as his "leadership qualities" and "public appeal". The arbitrator can also consider injuries and the number of times the player was a healthy scratch.

The arbitrator cannot consider newspaper columns, the financial condition of the team or the team's salary cap situation.

One of the biggest factors, I've heard, is "player comparisons", which will be submitted by both sides.

Like I said, I'm really happy not to be Brooks this morning. Arbitration is often brutal for the player.

Note:I'm covering the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis on Sunday, which means I've got a few days off during the week. So I'll be in and out, but will make sure to provide updates for significant stuff like player signings and arbitration decisions.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 23, 2007; 6:54 AM ET
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