Kukla's Korner Hockey
From The Puck Stops Here on FoxSports,
So far this season, there have been 30 Russian players who have played one or more NHL games, down from 57 prior to the lockout. Talent is already being drawn away from the NHL.
The skeptics will argue that the elite Russian talent still comes to the NHL, which is clearly true when one looks at the scoring race. However, some proven NHLers are having good seasons in the Russian Elite League right now and would be able to contribute to any NHL team were they in the NHL. A quick look through the Russian Elite League shows there are teams with former NHLers Aleksey Morozov, Alexander Perezhogin, Oleg Saprykin, Alexei Yashin and Maxim Sushinsky all leading them in scoring.
From Jeff Z. Klein at Slap Shot (NYT),
Why does the NHL persist with its broken standings system, whose guaranteed-point scheme encourages teams to play for regulation ties and has triggered an epidemic of third-period sleepwalks? Well, for one thing, it keeps the standings close and the playoff races tight. … Or does it?
Starting today we present the standings as they appear under the NHL’s current system (designated as N below) and as they would appear under the European system (E, or 3 for a regulation win, 2 for an OT or shootout win, 1 for an OT/SO loss, and 0 for a regulation loss) and under the Slovak Extraliga system (S, or 3 for a regulation win, 2 for an OT/SO win, 0 for any kind of loss).
from Slap Shot at the NY Times,
Russian hockey teams, fueled by petro dollars, are reversing the flow of Russian players: Increasingly, they are luring NHL players back home, and they have designs on catching and surpassing the N.H.L. as the world’s premiere hockey league.
Alexei Yashin moved back with a $17.63 million buyout from the Islanders. He now plays for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. “Less and less players are going to the N.H.L. and more and more are coming back here,” Yashin said in an interview in English after a recent game.
from the Prague Post,
“We’ve become a supermarket for the NHL, where they get top products at discount prices,” said Zbyněk Kusý, the national team’s general manager. “We are left begging NHL clubs to pay our players while letting them play for the national team in their free time.”
The national team’s head coach, Alois Hadamczik, is planning to leave late this month on a North American tour, hoping to lure some Czech NHL players in for the World Championship in May. The more NHL players on the national team, the stronger it will be, Hadamczik said.
“The days when NHL players merely boosted our team are gone. … Now, we must form the whole team with them in order to be competitive,” he said.
via the Detroit News,
Wings general manager Ken Holland , who is in Binghamton, N.Y., for tonight’s American Hockey League All-Star Game, said Sunday the team has not reached any agreement with Swedish prospect Fabian Brunnstrom.
“We’ve made our pitch,” Holland said. “My understanding is he’s going through his options and trying to make a decision on where he wants to play. The teams have made their offers, so it’s now really in his hands.”
This Brunnstrom is reminding me more and more of Sidd Finch...
from Pierre :LeBrun of the CP via Yahoo,
The current IIHF-NHL deal was a four-year agreement that began last season, but gave both sides the option to re-open it before Jan. 1, 2008.
Since they have, a crucial meeting will be held on Jan. 16 in New York between the NHL, IIHF and the European federations. And if they can’t agree to a new agreement?
“It wouldn’t be a good situation for hockey,” IIHF president Rene Fasel was quoted on his federation’s website. “The transfers to and from the NHL would not be regulated. This means that the NHL could offer contracts to European players basically all year and try to lure them in January or February which with the agreement is not possible. The European club would not be compensated.
“It could potentially create a transfer chaos where nobody would be a winner, with the exception of maybe agents and lawyers.”
From Evan Weiner at MCN Sports,
The new Medvedev league isn’t going to create anymore interest in hockey in Europe. The existing Russia Super League is widely considered to be the second best level of competition circuit in the world behind the NHL. There is also a second league in Russia, the Premiere League. There are leagues throughout Europe and the National Hockey League has been hiring players from European countries for decades.
Getting players to perform in a new and what appears to be an eastern European league will not be a problem; there are more players than jobs available always. Getting teams properly financed is a major challenge. With the exception of London, Europe does not have North American style arenas with luxury boxes and club seats and in-house eateries that produce extra revenues. If Medvedev is serious about challenging the NHL financially, he better have deep pocketed owners who can afford to lose a lot of money.
from Allan Maki of the Globe & Mail,
Dave King can see the possibilities because he’s seen the way hockey is changing in Europe and Russia - the emergence of rich owners, the advent of new arenas and now Russia and Sweden refusing to go along with the IIHF-NHL player transfer agreement, one they believe doesn’t reward them enough for the players they produce.
So a new European hockey league rising out of opportunity or even defiance? Having coached throughout Europe and with Mettalurg Magnitogorsk of the Russian Super League, King knows the mindset, can see it happening.
He can also see the NHL doing little if anything, as a new league proposed by Russian energy mogul Alexander Medvedev is being planned for Russia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Ukraine and perhaps Finland.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
A Russian tycoon with a lifelong love for hockey has hired former NHL Players’ Association head Bob Goodenow to help start a new pro league in Europe that would compete for players with the NHL….
The likelihood of a new European league has increased in recent years as hockey federations in Russia and elsewhere in Europe have grown disenchanted with the NHL over its recruitment of their best players.
At the same time, Medvedev has ample dollars to start a competitor to the venerable NHL. In an interview from Russia, Medvedev confirmed that former Russian NHL star Igor Larionov and Goodenow are members of a so-called “working group” that’s starting the league. Goodenow travelled to Moscow this week to discuss the prospective league, Larionov said.
from the Peoria Journal Star,
Juuso Riksman is gone again. And this time, without permission.
The veteran Peoria Rivermen goaltender abruptly quit the AHL team late Saturday night after Peoria’s loss to San Antonio, saying he wants to head back to Europe….
“Juuso Riksman told us last week he wanted to come back and play for Peoria, so we dropped Jason Bacashihua to No. 3 on the depth chart and traded him to Colorado,” St. Louis Blues director of pro scouting and Rivermen general manager Kevin McDonald said Sunday. “Then last night he told us he was going home. We want guys on this team who want to be here. Riksman will be suspended.
“I don’t know where he’s going to play. Jokerit (the Finnish team Riksman played for in 2006-07) holds his rights in Europe and does not need a goaltender. And we retain his NHL rights and control of him here.”
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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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