Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/24/13 at 03:09 AM ET
The KHL is a strange place by North American standards, and KHL president Alex Medvedev is by far its strangest character. In post-Soviet Russia, there's apparently no conflict of interest for the de-facto commissioner to also be the general manager (technically chairman of the board of directors) of one of its highest-profile and highest-spending teams, SKA St. Petersburg, all while serving on the board of directors of the oil and natural gas giant Gazprom and running the KHL's biggest sponsor, GazpromExport, which is the largest exporter of natural gas in the world.
He's almost a Bond supervillian, a Gary Bettman/Rene Fasel-type who actually enjoys giving interviews (if Gary Bettman was both the NHL's commissioner and one of J.P. Morgan Chase's highest-ranking executives, that translates to the amount of power Medvedev wields) and speaking bombastically, making huge promises about the KHL's future as a European hockey superpower and an equal of the NHL, and the fact that the Russian sports media tends to write novellas as opposed to stories aids his cause.
You're going to have to take this for what it's worth--as statement by a self-serving Medvedev--but Medvedev has told Sport-Express's Nikita Lisoviya (while opening a tennis academy in St. Petersburg and saying that he'll play doubles with Elena Dementieva) that he's:
1. Spoken with Sergei Bobrovsky and his agent about bringing the Vezina Trophy-winning goalie to SKA St. Petersburg:
2. That it's up to Bobrovsky as to what he'll do, but he feels that with the Sochi Olympics only 8 months away, Bobrovsky should be playing for a Russian team;
3. That Bobrovsky's already bought an apartment in St. Petersburg in case Bobrovsky, who's from Novokuznetsk in southwestenr Siberia, will play for SKA;
4. That Medvedev's considering establishing a KHL team to Sochi;
5. That the rink for the KHL's newest team, the Admiral Vladivostok, will be open in late September (three weeks into the KHL's regular season);
6. And that there's no truth to the rumor that Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, the current coach of the Russian National Team, will become SKA's coach after the Olympics.
That's an average, everyday conversation for
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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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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