Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: khl
from Alexei Bayer of The Moscow Times,
Even though the NHL is still the most prestigious hockey competition, hockey in North America is in crisis. The NHL has been convulsed by regular strikes and player lockouts. But there are deeper problems. In North America, hockey is played on narrow rinks, where big, fast defensemen make it very difficult to skate. Goal cages are too small for huge goalies wearing wide light-weight equipment. With the exception of the four-on-four overtime, NHL games have turned into boring, grinding, low-scoring contests between huge men on skates elbowing each other along the boards. No wonder it is the least popular of the four major team sports in the U.S.
"European" hockey is played on wider surfaces. It is a beautiful, swift game where skating and passing are at a premium. It certainly has a better chance to win worldwide following — if only it can get the right leadership.
Russia is uniquely positioned to provide such leadership. Hockey stars are, along with hydrocarbons and weapons, its only world-class export. In 2008, Russia used its bulk and resources to form a Eurasian league, the KHL, which next year will have teams from 7 neighboring countries, including some hockey powerhouses. A team from Vladivostok will also enter the competition. This may become a gateway to the Far East, and professional clubs may be soon organized in Japan, South Korea, China and even Alaska. American kids, for example, started playing hockey long after NHL clubs appeared in U.S. cities.
What Russia needs is to view the KHL as a purely commercial undertaking and not a national one. It should pattern its business model on the NHL. As matters now stand, the KHL is excessively Russia-centered. Even its main trophy, the Gagarin Cup, has nothing to do with hockey and everything with Russia's chip-on-the-shoulder nationalism and outdated patriotism.
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
The Colorado Avalanche will have more difficulty luring back restricted free agent Ryan O'Reilly from Russia than the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars will have in locking up their unsigned youngsters, P.K. Subban and Jamie Benn, respectively.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the KHL team that O'Reilly plays for, is paying the 21-year-old forward a prorated $4-million US to play in Russia this year.
It is also believed that Metallurg Magnitogorsk is willing to increase O'Reilly's contract if he agrees to stay in Russia. Negotiations between O'Reilly's agent Mark Guy and the Avalanche have yet to produce a new deal for native of Varna, Ont. (near Stratford). The two sides are believed to be far apart.
from The Voice of Russia,
Ice hockey legend Sergey Fedorov is mulling over a return to competitive hockey at the age of 43, says CSKA Moscow’s interim head coach Vyacheslav Butsaev.
Fedorov, who has not played a game since leaving Metallurg Magnitogorsk at the end of last season, is currently plying his trade as CSKA’s general manager.
“We’ve talked to him about it [returning to ice rink],” the R-Sport news agency quotes Butsaev as saying. According to Butsaev, Fedorov has been training recently and is now in “excellent condition.”
from SportsDaily.ru (rough translation),
- Alexander, you acknowledge that it is possible to leave the KHL some guys who "can not wait" in the NHL?
- Players are allowed to use the clause in the contract that allows them to complete the case to stay in the NHL lockout. And as far as I know, a number of NHL players or decide to stay in the Continental League, or it is treated.
- Do you know their names?
- Yes, well known. But let them not to call it - in order to avoid speculation and influence.
KHL hockey team CSKA Moscow intends to release Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov from his lockout contract on Monday, a team source told R-Sport on Sunday.
CSKA had announced that Bryzgalov had skipped Sunday's 4-2 defeat of Dynamo Moscow due to injury, but the source said it was because the 32-year-old wanted out.
The thing is, Ilya is leaving the team," the source said. "Officially they'll announce it on Monday. The reason, most likely, is that the lockout should be over pretty soon in Bryzgalov's opinion.
Bryzgalov has played 12 games for CSKA since arriving from Philadelphia on September 21, winning six and with a 91 percent save rate.
Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin said Tuesday he is still not at full fitness despite playing almost two months of lockout hockey in his native Russia.
Semin was one of the NHL’s first big names to move abroad when the lockout took effect, joining his hometown junior team in late September before moving up to the KHL with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod two weeks later.
“Without doubt, I still need to improve my physical condition,” he said on the Torpedo website.
from Rossiyskaya Gazeta via Russia Beyond The Headlines,
Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Alexander, according to information from the U.S., the NHL season might still get underway – and soon. For how much longer will we [in Moscow] be able to watch you play in the flesh?
Alexander Ovechkin: I have no news about that. Of course, I know a bit more than the press, but it makes no sense to talk about it. Why blow up rumor into fact? If it's possible to stay here, I'll play for Dynamo. I've developed an excellent relationship with the club, the coaching staff, and the guys on the team. I feel at home.
RG: The club president says that, even if the NHL lockout ends, Dynamo still wants to keep Ovechkin. Is that realistic?
A.O.: I don't think it's “unrealistic.” Anything is possible. But let's wait and see what happens over there across the ocean.
RG: Can the top players in the NHL somehow influence the negotiations between the Players’ Union and the League?
A.O.: Our head, Donald Fehr, is very well acquainted with our terms and conditions. Nobody wants a pay cut or a lower status. Everything in that respect is up to Fehr. We have full confidence in him, but there could be some twists and turns ahead.
from Slave Malamud at the Toronto Sun,
Ultimately, Fetisov, 54, dreams of creating the KHL's Far Eastern division by expanding the league into China, Korea and Japan, he told Sport-Express in an interview.
The KHL already features teams from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with Italy scheduled to join next year, and Fetisov says the league should push ahead with a global-domination strategy.
In the interview, in which he calls NHL commissioner Bettman "a local lord-ling" and proposes to offer the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin "material incentives" to stay in the KHL, Fetisov envisions a hockey universe no longer dominated by the North American league. He thinks that if $1 billion were offered immediately to the NHL's brightest locked-out stars, it would create an exodus of players into the KHL that would pound Bettman into submission.
Most importantly, he sees a single global hockey enterprise, with tight regulations on player transfers, an annual showdown between the Stanley Cup and Gagarin Cup champions for the world bragging rights, and a unified calendar which would accommodate semi-annual slots for the Olympics and the World Cup with the best players participating for their national teams.
“With KHL and NHL hockey, the level of the game is close overall, but there’s a huge difference between the images,” said Rotenberg, who heads up big-spending SKA’s business and marketing operations, in comments carried by the Russian edition of Forbes magazine.
“There’s the feeling that gods are playing [in the NHL], but here it’s not clear who’s playing, grey faces, yellow ice.”
“The result is low-cost TV rights and a lower number of fans.”
With many of the KHL’s teams playing in shabby Soviet-era surroundings, Rotenberg said part of the blame for the KHL’s presentation problems lay with regional governments’ reluctance to fund modern arenas.
from Matthew Fisher at Canada.com,
The Russian-led Kontinental Hockey League is rumoured to be considering adding teams in the searing desert of Dubai and in fashionable Milan. NHL President Gary Bettman yearns to place new NHL teams in Seattle, Kansas City and Milwaukee. That says everything about his narrow American-centric vision for the game.
Bettman’s circuit is asleep. Except perhaps for a few weeks every two or four years and only then if it controls how well it is paid for freeing its players to play for their national teams, it has little desire to be part of the international game that Canadians are so interested in. It is lukewarm if not hostile to the idea of putting more teams in Canada although teams from there now pay so many of the league’s bills. Now it seems intent on frittering away what’s left of its good name again by getting involved in a protracted labour dispute with its employees.
The Russians, who were not so long ago regarded as stolid, humourless automotoms, now swagger and dream. They are also inclusive. As well as about a dozen teams from the distant hinterlands, the 26-team KHL has franchises in oil- and gas-soaked Astana, Kazakhstan as well as Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
As can be the case at times, the Russian language can be hard to translate but I think you will get most of the conversation...
from Sport Express,
- Kovalchuk said NHL commissioner Gary Bettmen - a man who loves to show off, right?
- Of course. All heads of leagues in which there is a struggle between the club owners and the union want to distance ourselves from the conflict and associated backlash and pressure from the outside. But when you go to the press and said that the proposal is great, you need to understand - what you say. Who is it good? For Bettmena? Or for club bosses? When you give a new offer, it must involve some movement forward. But now there is no movement forward.
- What do you think the players are ready to make concessions?
- I do not understand with a fright, we have to agree to reduce the already signed contracts, which the owners themselves, and we were given. And even in this mezhseozne. The same Parise, Webber, Suter. Who are we kidding? It turns themselves. That's why the lockout and on.
- Do you think that if much will cut contracts, NHL players will be able to remain purely legal in Russia?
- I think it is possible. We have signed some contracts that are now going to be cut.
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.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
For further proof things are radically different over in the KHL, we defer to Calgary goaltender Jeff Glass, who plays in Siberia where he sees new things every day: "We played Omsk Avangard the other night, who is captained by Alexander Frolov, formerly of the L.A. Kings. With a few minutes left in the second period, they threw the puck on goal and crashed the net, as hard as guys do in this league. There was a little controversy, but the puck was under me, not in the net. Frolov was convinced he had scored and was insisting they go upstairs to review the play. I told him and the ref not to waste anyone's time, because 100% it was not in. He asked me how much I wanted to bet that it was a goal. Knowing that he probably uses a salary like mine as spare change, I didn't say much. He stuck out his hand and said "$100." I didn't know what to do, other than take my glove off and shake it right back. The play was reviewed and the call on the ice stood, no goal. No more than five minutes after the game their stick boy had 3,200 rubles, the equivalent of $100, delivered to our room."
read on if you want to know what Brent Sutter is up to these days...
“Guys from the NHL — Bobrowski, Varlamov, and Bryzgalov - have amazing confidence in their abilities. They play a much bolder game than our boys. It's a healthy kind of arrogance, which our players would be wise to adopt.”
-Vladislav Tretiak, President of the Russian Hockey Federation, the NHL players now playing in the KHL. More from Ilya Desiaterik at Russia Beyond The Headlines.
Locked-out NHL stars coming to play in the Russia-based KHL should learn the league's rules rather than complaining about referees, the head of the KHL refereeing department told R-Sport on Tuesday.
The NHL declared a lockout last month when pay talks between owners and players foundered, causing players such as last season’s MVP Evgeni Malkin and big-scoring forward Alex Ovechkin to come to the KHL.
Both have since found themselves disagreeing with referees over on-ice incidents.
“In every country there are certain nuances, however the player’s obligation is to know the rules,” referee supervisor Alexander Polyakov said.
“You can find the KHL rules on the league website, by the way, so a player who’s come to play in the KHL should go and read them.”
Some players complaining about referees were just sore losers, Polyakov suggested.
“No-one likes to lose, but if the game isn’t going your way either, then these types of comments emerge,” he said, adding that there would be no tolerance or “special permits” for stars.
Minimum of seven games to be carried exclusively in the US, including the KHL All-Star Game
Games will also air on ESPN in UK
ESPN today officially announced that it will deliver a minimum of seven games from 2012-13 season of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) exclusively on ESPN3 in the US and on ESPN UK. Coverage begins Tuesday, October 9 at 1 p.m. ET with ESPN SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy and NHL studio analyst Barry Melrose calling the Lev vs. Dynamo Moscow game live on ESPN2 and ESPN3. The game will re-air in primetime on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET and will air on delay on ESPN in the UK (Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. BST).
Confirmed games through the end of the month feature an all-star lineup of hockey players, including Alex Ovechkin (Dynamo Moscow), Ilya Kovalchuk (SKA), Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar (Metallurg Mg).
thanks to Puck Daddy for the pointer...
Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin is close to agreeing a move to KHL team Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod just a week after joining his hometown junior team, Torpedo president Oleg Kondrashov said Thursday.
Semin agreed last week to play for his boyhood team, Sokol Krasnoyarsk, in Russia’s second-tier VHL league during the NHL lockout and has since scored three points in two games.
“We expect that Alexander Semin will join us in the next week,” Kondrashov said in a website statement.
He did not specify why he thought Semin, who is not collecting a salary in Krasnoyarsk, would leave Sokol for Torpedo.
Defenseman Anton Volchenkov of the New Jersey Devils is another target for Torpedo and the team is looking to sign a third NHL player, Kondrashov said.
“We expect Anton Volchenkov at Torpedo this weekend,” he said.
“We’ve got our eyes on one more player from the North American league,” he added.
from Stu Hackel of the Red Light,
We contacted ESPN and a spokeswoman sent along this statement: “We can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle to bring some KHL coverage to fans in the UK (on ESPN) and in the US (on ESPN3). However, details of a deal and specific coverage plans are not yet solidified. We will share more schedule details as soon as possible.”
The spokeswoman added that ESPN hoped the deal would be concluded by the end of the week but confirmed that the Dynamo-Ak Bars game would not be seen, the entire schedule has yet to be determined, and we should disregard the games that the KHL trumpeted on Tuesday.
The KHL’s announcement was, to say the least, a bit premature. The league has yet to respond to our request for comment, so it’s uncertain if this snafu was the result of a miscommunication or some over-eagerness on KHL’s part.
How long do you think the NHL lockout will last?
“For some reason, they’re still refusing to talk about the serious problems, but instead talk about some borderline issues. The main thing is that all the guys have now shown the team owners that they can go and play somewhere, do their favorite thing and not just stay home. If you stay home then you can start getting depressed and clearly the team owners are hoping for that, but I think that this time things will be a little different.”
How would you feel about playing a full season in the KHL?
“I really don’t care, the main thing for me is hockey. I really like it here and if there isn’t a season there, then I’d be delighted to play it out here and try to do it as well as possible.”
Why haven’t stars like Sidney Crosby or Steve Stamkos come to the KHL?
“Maybe they’re a bit worried and hesitant about coming to Russia, but it’s a personal thing. If the lockout lasts a year then I think we’ll see a few more people in the KHL.”
from Chris Smith of Forbes,
Many are hoping that, in addition to making NHL stars available to American viewers, ESPN’s deal might also be a sign that the network will finally begin covering hockey in other formats. The “Worldwide Leader” has famously avoided hockey coverage in the past, and the NHL still goes without mention on SportsCenter despite the league being on the verge of cancelling regular season games (meanwhile, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s Twitter coverage of last night’s Bears-Cowboys game gets a full breakdown).
The theory is that ESPN will be more inclined to give the sport broader coverage if it has an actual investment in hockey’s popularity. In other words, more hockey coverage could translate to more hockey viewers on ESPN3. Unfortunately, that optimism is likely misplaced. There is little sense in covering the European hockey league when American KHL viewership is minimal and NHL players’ tenures are temporary. Also consider that ESPN3 has been streaming the ICC’s World T20 cricket tournament since mid-September; when’s the last time you caught a cricket highlight on ESPN?
This isn’t to complain, of course. It’s welcome news that ESPN will stream the KHL adventures of hockey’s top playmakers, and it’s even somewhat enjoyable that the NHL and NHLPA are forced to watch another group – especially one that has a contentious history with the league – profit on their protracted negotiations. So let’s simply enjoy our overseas glimpse a tentertaining hockey, just don’t expect it to have any great impact on the sport’s popularity.
from the CP at TSN,
Yakupov, the No. 1 pick by the Edmonton Oilers at this year's draft, was suspended earlier in the week after it was revealed he didn't secure a transfer card to join Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.
The International Ice Hockey Federation ruled he played illegally when he suited up for his hometown team in two games earlier this month.
Hockey Canada, which refused to sign off on Yakupov's transfer, and the Canadian Hockey League both believed he belonged with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.
But Hockey Canada has since changed its tune.
"Hockey Canada and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation have announced that the OHL has determined that Yakupov had no independent legal advice when, at the age of 17 years old, he signed his contract with Sarnia," the Hockey Canada statement read. "His release goes into effect immediately."
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“The hockey’s different,” Maurice added. “How they view it is different. The travel’s different. How everything moves is different. It’s so difficult to describe. Your first month, you notice everything that’s different, and everything seems to be different.
“Then after you’re here for a while, you start to notice some of the similarities, and you realize there’s not much difference in a lot of areas after all. And I guess you get to the point where you realize, just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”
Maurice is coaching Metallurg Magnitogorsk, a perennial KHL powerhouse that was in a rebuilding year until the NHL lockout became official. At that point, Magnitogorsk received three valuable reinforcements: Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s reigning MVP; Sergei Gonchar, the Ottawa Senators’ defenceman; and Nikolai Kulemin, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward.
MOSCOW, September 26 (RIA Novosti) – The KHL has imposed a temporary ban on NHL No. 1 draft pick Nail Yakupov, preventing him from playing for lockout team Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk until an investigation into the forward is resolved, the league said Wednesday.
The KHL statement said the 18-year-old starlet, who has already made two appearances for Neftekhimik after his lockout contract was reigstered last Thursday, can not take to the ice again under the International Ice Hockey Federation has given the all-clear.
Contacted by R-Sport, the IIHF could not immediately clarify the nature of the probe into Yakupov, though it may involve objections from his NHL team the Edmonton Oilers over his participation in the Russian-based league.
The return of the starlet forward to Russia was hampered by Edmonton, which intended to send him to Canadian major junior team Sarnia Sting, where he had racked up 170 points in 107 games before being drafted.
The IIHF is supposed to release a statement today which I will add to this post when available.
via RIA NOVOSTI,
KHL team Dynamo Minsk has lined up a “top-level” goaltender from the NHL as a lockout signing after an injury to the Minnesota Wild’s Niklas Backstrom put his proposed move in doubt, the team’s sports director Igor Matushkin said Monday.
Backstrom is with the team for medical tests to assess whether he is fit enough for a signing, Matushkin said.
“If Niklas Backstrom is not able to take part in matches from the very start then another goaltender will join our team,” Matushkin said on the team website.
“I can only say now that he is a goaltender from the top level of the NHL. Regarding his name, I think I’ll be able to answer you tomorrow.”
via the KHL website,
The UFA Sports agency, which acts as the KHL’s marketing service partner in nations outside the League’s borders, has announced a surge in interest among North American TV companies seeking to broadcast matches in the KHL Championship.
At present, the American media are interested primarily in showing games featuring Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and other locked out NHL stars, so current talks are focused on coverage of games featuring Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Dynamo Moscow, CSKA Moscow and SKA Saint Petersburg.
There are also ongoing talks with interested broadcasters from Great Britain and a number of European countries about showing KHL Championship games.
That's a quote from the folks at CSN Washington discussing the possibllity of Alex Ovechkin not returning to the NHL. Here's the video...
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
“As to the future, it will depend on what kind of conditions there will be in the NHL with the new CBA. If our contracts get slashed, I will have to think whether to return there or not. I won’t rule out staying in the KHL, even past this season.”
-Alex Ovechkin via Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider where you can read more (translated) Ovechkin.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
"They pay the players pretty good, but that's where a most all the money is spent. The rest of the set up, it's not even close to the AHL," said goaltender Yann Danis, who spent the 2010-11 season with Khabarovsk Amur, a smaller market team located "about 30 minutes north of China. An eight-hour flight from Moscow."
"St Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa - I'm sure it's better with the teams that have money," Danis said. "We had our own charter plane, but it was one of those (models) that crashed. Not the nicest plane. The hotels? They're two stars over here. The NHLers (who choose to go in case of a lockout), it's going to be a huge difference for them."
from Tom McEnchroe of Radio Prague,
For 20 years there was only one route for world class Czech ice hockey players – west. But since the creation of the Continental Hockey League in Russia 4 years ago, this once clear system is being ever more distorted. Increasing numbers of European and even American stars now decide to head east rather than into the NHL and it is not only players that seem to be flocking to the Eurasian league, but teams as well. Most recently the first Czech club to join was HC Lev Praha.
The project is not only a risky financial undertaking, but physically it may prove challenging as well. With teams casually having to travel more than a 1000 miles to play their next game. On the other hand, the attractiveness of watching games between teams from the second best league in the world and its situation in the Czech capital gives HC Lev Praha a chance to become one of the most popular teams in Bohemia. I asked to the club‘s manager Normunds Sejejs what were the other reasons for founding a Czech KHL team:
via RIA Novosti,
Hockey prodigy Vladimir Tarasenko is not ready to move to the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, his former KHL coach Milos Riha said Monday.
The 20-year-old right wing took up his entry contract with the Blues last month after four seasons in the KHL in which he racked up 100 points in 176 games.
“It was his decision and his choice. To my mind, he has got ahead of himself a little bit,” SKA St. Petersburg coach Riha said on the KHL website.
“I think that he could play a couple more years in KHL and grew to maturity as a hockey player. I can only wish him luck.”
SKA has a reputation as a big-spending team keen to recruit stars, but none of its seven signings this summer are household names.
The St. Petersburg team is still targeting a famous new recruit, Riha sadi.
“We’ll try to buy one famous player whose name everyone knows.”
from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Second thoughts? Heck, yeah, Tim Stapleton has had a gazillion of them.
But when a guy’s phone is silent 10 days into NHL free agency, it can be a sign. And so as much as he wanted to stay in Winnipeg with the Jets, the lukewarm response he got after becoming an unrestricted free agent—and the league’s continuing fixation with size—meant the 5-9 forward had to begin looking elsewhere for work.
Elsewhere, in Stapleton’s case, is Dinamo-Minsk in the KHL.
“Last year in Winnipeg was the absolute best for me,” said Stapleton Wednesday when he was reached on a golf course near his home in Chicago. “It was by far my favourite year in my career. I’ve played in Europe, I’ve done a lot of things and been all over the minors, but the fans in Winnipeg and the support, the guys on the team… it’s sad for me.
“It wasn’t an easy decision. I even woke up today thinking, ‘Man, what did I do?’ But it’s just something that made sense, especially turning 30 (next week). I’ve got to look out for life after hockey.”
Finnish forward Niklas Hagman, who played in the NHL for nearly a decade, has signed a contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the team told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
Lokomotiv’s entire roster perished in an air crash last September, when the team was heading to its first game of the season in the Belarus capital Minsk.
Since then, the three-time Russian champion has been assembling a new squad for its return to the KHL next season.
from RIA, T
The Russia-based KHL is to challenge the NHL on its home territory for the first time by playing two regular-season games in New York, league vice-president Vladimir Shalaev said Tuesday.
Reigning champion Dynamo Moscow will face off against big-spending SKA St. Petersburg at the newly built Barclays Center in Brooklyn on January 19 and 20.
The Barclays Center easily surpasses the New York Rangers’ home at Madison Square Garden as a hockey venue, Shalaev said.
“There’s nothing good about the Madison. Anyone who’s been there understands that arena is no longer suited to modern hockey,” he said.
from Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy,
Just under a week ago, we wrote about Alexander Radulov and his KHL rights being traded to CSKA, the storied Red Army club.
On Monday, the news comes that Radulov will indeed play in Russia next season.
The always outspoken Yuri Nikolaev, Radulov’s Russian agent, in an interview to Russian newspaper Izvestiya implied that Radulov is going to play in the KHL next season.
“Alexander no longer has thoughts, watching the sea, whether he should go to the NHL or play in the KHL,” Nikolaev told Izvestiya.
“We are negotiating with CSKA about a personal contract. However we are not in CSKA yet; there are matters we have to discuss with the club’s general managers.
Magnitogorsk of the KHL has hired longtime NHL coach Paul Maurice as their next head coach.
Maurice joins Magnitogorsk after a 15-year head coaching career in the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Hartford Whalers.
Former Hurricanes goalie coach Tom Barrasso will also join Maurice on the Magnitogorsk bench as an assistant coach.
This past KHL season has seen a slight rise stadium attendances but a drop in the average number of goals per game, statistics released Wednesday showed.
League officials keen to export the competition to as many European nations as possible will be scrutinizing the numbers to try to gauge whether the nascent Russian-based competition is hitting growth targets in its fourth season.
Figures posted on the KHL website showed 4.32 million people visited the 704 matches of the 2011-12 season, a modest rise of 30,000 from last season. That translates to an average of 6,136 fans per match, up from 5,200 in the KHL’s inaugural 2008-09 season but far less than half the NHL’s averages.
from Steve Hunt at NHL.com,
The Dallas Stars honored a fallen former teammate on Saturday afternoon.
Karlis Skrastins, who played in Dallas from 2009-2011, was honored before the club’s game against the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center. Skrastines was among those killed when a plane carrying Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL crashed last September.
“Obviously it was really tough to see his family, first time for me to get to see them after the tragedy. It was pretty emotional,” Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “It was a nice gesture by the Stars honoring Skratch. I think we kind of dedicated our season right from the get go (to his memory). We all know he played with heart and passion. He was the kind of guy that never complained. He was just willing to do anything for his teammates.”
continue and watch the video tribute below…
from Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy,
The most intriguing part is that it was not Radulov himself who bought out the remainder of this year’s contract. (Radulov is signed in the KHL through next summer). Nikolaev made it very clear, but at the same time he did not want to disclose who the rich “benefactor” was.
But the fact that whoever this undisclosed person or entity is, they only bought out about a month of Radulov’s deal, and not the entire remainder.
What does this mean for Radulov?
Nikolaev added: “We have a contract with Salavat Yulaev on our hands. With a reservation that Alexander has a right to spend the 2012-2013 season overseas. After July 1 he will become a [restricted] free agent in the NHL and Nashville will make a contract offer. We will have something to compare it to, something to think about. If Radulov picks Nashville and there is a lockout, Alex will come back to Ufa without a problem. Or he will decide to start the new season in the KHL right away. Everything is in his hands.”
Anyone can agree that this is a very sweet deal for Radulov. He keeps his multi-million dollar KHL deal as a fallback and a bargaining chip when he negotiated with the Predators this summer.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
NHL Deputy Commissioner Billy Daly and Nashville Predators GM David Poile were in discussion over lunch Monday after the GMs meetings broke up.
Neither were available for comment, but my bet is they were once again discussing the possible arrival of Alexander Radulov from Russia.
Poile and Daly were in constant contact over the past week because the league had to rule on Radulov’s possible re-entry to the NHL. A source told ESPN.com that the league decided Radulov would not require NHL waivers if he decided to return and he would be eligible for both the regular season and playoffs.
Talk about a bonus for Nashville if that happens. And talk about some possibly angry NHL team rivals.
The league also needed the NHLPA to sign off on it and the union did, a source told ESPN.com.
a bit more
from Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy,
KHL President Medvedev is also the head of Russian natural gas giant Gazprom. He was in New York to attend the annual meeting with American shareholders as well as conduct other Gazprom business. But he still found time to have a meeting with the heads of the NHL [please note how he calls Bettman “Gary” without using his last name]. Right after the lunch was over Medvedev spoke exclusively with me…
“Yes, we held a meeting today with Gary [Bettman] and Bill Daly. I would like to point out that the meeting had a very friendly feel to it. It was also very constructive which indicates that both Leagues understand each other’s positions and views. It can only help the development of the game of hockey on both sides of the Atlantic. And even though we haven’t accomplished a lot yet, nevertheless we already have a few regulatory documents that govern the respect of each other’s contracts,” he said
Puck Daddy with the details…
from Andy Potts of IIHF.com,
The hockey team of Moscow’s Central Sports Club of the Army was once a much celebrated team, but the last of its 32 national championships dates back to 1989 at the end of the Soviet era.
Soviet-era giants CSKA Moscow are now set to be on the march once more – fuelled by a lucrative deal with Russian oil major Rosneft.
Release from the KHL:
The following is Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) president Alexander Medvedev’s statement regarding tonight’s joint fundraising effort by the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins to benefit the families of those who perished in the tragic Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash on Wednesday, September 7th.
“I’d like to both commend and thank the players and management of the Capitals and Penguins for both remembering those we’ve lost, as well as supporting their families and loved ones. The teams’ tribute to the Yaroslavl hockey club is testament to the remarkable bonds shared by all members of the global hockey family. As we see tonight, great sports rivalries can be put aside when there is an opportunity to benefit those who are in need.”
During their first meeting of the 2011-2012 season on Thursday, October 13th, players from both teams will wear jerseys with commemorative Lokomotiv patches that will be autographed and auctioned off at NHL.com. All proceeds will benefit the families of the Lokomotiv team.
Stacy Dallman—wife of Kevin Dallman, formerly with the Kings, Bruins and Blues, and currently playing in the KHL—has been working hard to help raise money for the wives and families of Lokomotiv players who were lost in the recent tragedy.
Stacy has organized a charitable initiative to raise money to help those families and asked if we could help spread the word. They have already raised some $11,000 and hope to raise much more by the end of the hockey season, with the help of hockey fans around the world.
“The tragedy has pulled together hockey wives from almost all leagues world-wide, and our goal is to collect as many donations as possible to give to the Lokomotiv Wives and families at the end of this hockey season,” says Stacy.
You can find about more about the Lokomotiv Wives Fund on Facebook. There are options to donate money, or simply share your well-wishes with the families affected.
Thanks for checking it out.
From Russia Today:
The Yak-42 that crashed near Yaroslavl taking 44 lives last week was in proper mechanical condition and the latest repairs were done to all requirements, the transport prosecution has ruled. Pilot error is the most likely cause of the tragic crash.
The last scheduled service of the plane was in August, during which the right engine was replaced and all other defects were reportedly eliminated. All these repairs were certified and correspond to requirements informed the transport prosecution.
The company that provided technical maintenance of the Yakovlev Yak-42 aircraft was inspected by experts from the Russian transport prosecution.
For more reading, a writer at the Digital Journal provides speculation on other possible causes and notes that passenger Pavel Trakhanov was using his cell phone during takeoff (as noted in this other, Russia Today story). You can read the DJ article here, and it also links to some other info on cell phone use and its dangers during takeoffs/landings. However, no one official—that we know of—has alleged it is a factor in this particular disaster.
from Dmitry Chesnokov of PuckDaddy,
The NHL Media Tour this year involved special events for non-North American media. The League cordially invited us to attend; due to previous engagements we were unable to.
However, Sovetsky Sport’s New York reporters Alexander Klamkin and Alisa Volbidakht did, and forwarded the following interview they had with Pavel Datsyuk, who was unable, quite understandably, to talk about anything but the tragedy in Russia.
Here are some excerpts from their talk with the Detroit Red Wings star about the plane crash that took the lives of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl players and coaches:
Q. We were getting ready for this interview for a week now. Thanks to the NHL for organizing it. We wanted to talk about the upcoming season, about the Red Wings’ chances of winning the cup, about other teams… But none of it will happen because all of the thoughts are with Lokomotiv.
DATSYUK: “That is all correct. I am in a very bad state. I call my friends in Ekaterinburg, talk to them. Every time they tell me all the details of the Yaroslavl tragedy. They give new information… It all stacks up. It puts on a lot of pressure.
“This morning right before our meeting I watched a requiem on YouTube that was organized in Minsk in remembrance of the hockey players who died. It touched me so deep how people reacted to this tragedy, with the kind of respect they remembered [those] people. It touched my soul.