Kukla's Korner Hockey
The KHL must dodge outside influence from the Russian hockey federation and make “serious concessions” with its stringent roster policies if it wants compete with its North American counterpart, the NHL, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk head coach Vladimir Krikunov said Wednesday.
Krikunov, who has coached in the KHL since its inception five years ago and guided Russia at world hockey championships in 2005 and 2006, called the eight-country league “half-amateur” and wholly reliant on the federation.
The comments are unusually strong for someone with close ties to the league and the federation, both of which benefit greatly from state funding.
“Now it’s a half-amateur league that depends on the Russian hockey federation,” Krikunov, 63, told R-Sport.
The coach said contentious rules limiting teams to five foreign players and mandating each carries two players born after 1992 should be abolished because they weaken the quality of play. He also said the four-country Euro Hockey Tour, which halts the KHL’s schedule for two weekends in November and December, has to go.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Another NHLer bolting east, or another NHL career coming to a close?
Unrestricted free agent Nikolai Antropov, who scored six goals and added 12 assists in 40 games played for the Winnipeg Jets last season, is bound for the KHL.
Antropov signed a two-year deal with Astana Barys, a KHL club based in his native Kazakhstan, the team announced Thursday.
59.ru (translated) talked with Ilya Bryzgalov at his goalie camp and while most questions were about the camp, he was asked about where he will be playing in the upcoming season,
I can not ask a "question of the fan": where we will see Ilya Bryzgalov in the 2013-14 season - in Russia or in foreign markets? Where would you most like to play?
- You know, good and there, and there. In Russia - a great professional league, it develops. Here, have a very good masters: Ilya Kovalchuk is back, there's Alexander Radulov and other players. And in the NHL is good too. And, ahead of the replica will say that it is not in finance. Who is more important than the same peace of mind. So answer me so hard. While - 50 to 50.
Former NHLer and Slovak national team forward Zigmund Palffy has called it quits, announcing his retirement from hockey.
"One morning is more beautiful than the previous one, and you have other opinions. At this point, I believe that I quit. Definitive. Already I do not want to travel anywhere. Did it enough," said the 41-year-old winger.
Palffy hung up his skates after the 2012/2013 season where he was the most productive player in Slovak Extraliga Tipsport, registering 83 points in just 48 games.
via RIA Novosti,
Russian former Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nikolai Zherdev has joined Lev Prague on a one-year deal, the Czech team announced Friday.
Zherdev, 28, has been a free agent since June 20, when he was let go by Atlant Moscow Region, the team he has been playing for since his return from North America in 2011.
"Nikolai talked to his family and specialists and decided that this option would be the best for him," Zherdev's agent Yury Nikolaev told R-Sport. "Lev provides Zherdev with awesome financial and living conditions."
Zherdev, a playmaking wing who led Atlant with 37 points in 39 appearances last season, was a surprise inclusion on the team's list of five players available to expansion franchise Admiral Vladivostok last month. Admiral, however, left the forward on the board, likely due to his 60 million rubles-per year salary ($1.85 million).
from RIA Novosti,
Ilya Kovalchuk, who shocked the hockey world last Thursday by abruptly retiring from the New Jersey Devils, has signed a four-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg, making him the first major Russian hockey star in his prime to defect from the NHL to the KHL.
The deal, announced by the club on Monday, signals a coup Russian hockey officials have been fighting for since the mid-1990s, when a wave of players left for North America, depleting a proud hockey nation of its prized talent.
"We're a team but as we know, the role of the individual in history is large so the main effort of the club this offseason was directed at Ilya Kovalchuk, one of the stars of the hockey world," SKA president Gennady Timchenko said in a statement released by the team.
"Ilya has already proven he's a true leader on the ice and off."
On the 2014 Sochi Olympics: “Even if I was offered a role (to promote the Games), I wouldn’t take it. At this point, I want nothing to do with Russian hockey. There are a lot of people who come to the hockey world in Russia who don’t have any idea. It’s all family relationships: ‘I got this job, I can get you a job on this team, too,’ and that person doesn’t know anything about hockey. It’s pretty much if you get hurt in the KHL, you get traded or bought out. You expect that. They’re not developing players or teams, they’re running a business.”
-Alex Kovalev. Read much more on and from Kovalev by Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette.
from the CP at CBC,
Most tend to believe it's an isolated incident, with two agents and one former agent and general manager singling out the once-in-a-generation circumstances that led to Kovalchuk leaving and the Devils permitting him to go without keeping his contract in place or preventing him from signing with a KHL team.
"I don't think it's an epidemic or anything like that," agent Mark Gandler said. "I think each person makes his decision based on the circumstances that he's in, based on his environment, his family, his upbringing."
When Kovalchuk decided to file his voluntary retirement papers, he all but blocked himself from returning to the NHL. Coming back would require him to sit out a year or get approval from all 30 teams.
"I think these are very unique circumstances," said agent J.P. Barry, who represents Malkin. "How many players would want to remove the NHL option from their future? Because by doing this voluntary retirement, they've essentially done that."
Malkin did not want to do that, and he had a choice to do so in the near future. The Pittsburgh star's current contract expired after the 2013-14 season, and Barry said there were multiple offers from KHL teams for Malkin's services.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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