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How Good Is The KHL?

from Matthew Fisher of PostMedia News at the Vancouver Province,

With the NHL shut down by a labour dispute, some Russians have bragged that their Kontinental Hockey League is now the best hockey circuit in the world.

There is even giddy talk that the 26-team Russian league, which also has teams in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Latvia, will be primed before too long to challenge the North American circuit for global hockey supremacy.

There is something to the first boast. Half a dozen top NHL players, including two of the best – the sometimes mercurial Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the totally unpredictable Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals – are not sitting out the strike but playing in what Russians call the Motherland.

These stars are ably supported by a fast-skating, technically proficient cast of more than 500 mostly Russian players, including several dozen who could play in the NHL if they chose to. Most of the players may not forecheck, shoot or go to the net often enough, but they nevertheless play compelling hockey.

But any suggestion that the KHL will match the NHL any time soon is absurd.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: khl


HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

But any suggestion that the KHL will match the NHL any time soon is absurd. The KHL does not have a feasible business model. It survives off many hundreds of millions of dollars from oligarchs whose dubious fortunes were amassed when they ruthlessly bought up huge state enterprises for a song during the brutal months that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“The KHL is not a realistic business project,” said Roman Belyaev, marketing manager for Metallurg Novokuznetsk, which a city of 600,000 people tucked away in central Siberia. “There are only four or five good businesses in the whole league.”

Among the few teams that may break even are Dynamo Riga, Lev Praha and Locomotiv Yaroslavl. The league has a salary cap of $36 million that is sometimes broken, and that does not include the salaries of returning NHLers. While Dynamo Moscow, Metallurg Magnitogorsk and CKA St. Petersburg, where sniper Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils is currently employed, have payrolls of $50 million or $60 million a year, the revenues for the entire season for Novokuznetsk will be less than $500,000. The team is so impoverished that its general manager, Leon Vaysfeld, for years a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs, admitted he only gets a little more than halfway to the KHL’s cap floor of $8 million a year. So some teams have at least 10 times more money to spend on players as he does. The shortfall of $4 million is picked up by the local steel plant.

Read more: http://www.canada.com/sports/Fisher+Russia+good+hockey+business/7409708/story.html#ixzz29fltB6oq


So KHL can’t compete with NHL because it’s a failing business model eh?  Only 4 or 5 teams that actually pull revenue huh?  There’s actually a team that has to get subsidized by a local company???

How are these different than the NHL.  Then how could they be the reason the KHL can’t compete?

Pretty sure San Jose’s owner said you don’t own a hockey franchise to make money.  Pretty sure only a handful of teams accounted for all the record breaking profits the league is making.  Pretty sure the league has to actually OWN one of the teams and get subsidies by proxie of the arena lease. 

You might be able to make a case based on infrastructure and player amenities but not on all that other shit.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/18/12 at 01:34 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

The few KHL games I’ve watched, I’ve been incredibly bored by.  It could, of course, be because Barry Melrose spends the whole time cackling over names he can’t pronounce though.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/18/12 at 02:24 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I agree with both comments posted here.
Although, TreKronor, the one thing I like about the KHL is the size of the ice. I’ve seen some goals scored in that league that were produced soley on the extra room.
I’d love for the NHL to at least use some exhibition games on larger ice surfaces just so we can see how it may look.

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/18/12 at 02:53 PM ET

JBytes's avatar

I’d love for the NHL to at least use some exhibition games on larger ice surfaces just so we can see how it may look.

I believe some of the NHL matches played in Europe last season were on the larger surface.

Posted by JBytes on 10/18/12 at 03:07 PM ET


College hockey is more exciting than the KHL

Posted by spl1ph on 10/18/12 at 05:00 PM ET


The player’s are not familiar for the most part.  However, skill is emphasized over the dump and chase NHL style. 

I always preferred skill.  The 1970’s Canadiens.
The 1980’s Oilers

We need more skill in the NHL and a bigger rink.  Having slugs give concussions to star player’s is not entertaining to me

The game is sliding backwards, the coaching is the same old boring defense now with shot blocking all over the ice.

Once in a while there is a good NHL game but most nights its boring too.  I missed it the last time, this time not so much.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the whole sport at least the NHL version.  From cheap shots, vigilante justice to Lockouts and strikes it’s a Mickey Mouse operation compared to the 3 Major Sports.

Posted by 13 user names on 10/18/12 at 08:34 PM ET


Wouldn’t it be nice to see someone try and resurrect the WHA and link it with the KHL?

There are a lot of builbings in major metro areas with no NHL team.  Meadowlands Barclays Center for instance.

Wouldn’t it be nice for the fans not to be held hostage by the NHL and the NHLPA?

Posted by 13 user names on 10/18/12 at 08:49 PM ET


The KHL is inferior to the NHL and yet some fans are willing to pay NHL prices for replacement players if that gets the season started. I can’t imagine how much worse replacement hockey would be compared to even the KHL brand. Why would a league of replacement players even be in the discussion is beyond me if you want the NHL to represent the best hockey in the world?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/19/12 at 09:44 AM ET

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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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