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.