Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 01/23/12 at 12:02 AM ET
On Saturday, Yahoo Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov reported that KHL president Alexander Medvedev made a bold claim in his “State of the KHL” address, suggesting that the KHL and NHL would hold five to seven exhibition games in Russia this summer, but the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran reports that the NHL doesn’t plan on indulging the KHL’s desire to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Summit Series:
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly threw water on the idea very quickly responding to an email from the Star.
“Not only have we not discussed it, but it’s not going to happen,” Daly told the Star.
The NHL is almost certain to have some exhibition and regular-season games in Europe again next season — as the league has done the past few years. Commissioner Gary Bettman even said on his radio show Thursday those plans were in the offing.
But stops in Russia are apparently a non-starter with the NHL, which apparently wasn’t happy with its experience in St. Petersburg in 2010 when the Carolina Hurricanes played there. Plans for the Washington Capitals to play there in 2011 collapsed over fees.
What appeared to be some upper-level encouragement of SKA St. Petersburg’s players to prove that their league is, as the KHL repeatedly insists, on par (or nearly so) with the NHL by “competitively” going after Eric Staal’s knees won’t exactly curry favor with a league that has every right to be afraid that we’ll see Vityaz Chekhov dress its enforcers against, say, the Penguins to prove that Evgeni Malkin can doff ‘em as well as Pavel Datsyuk can.
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