I was reading a tweet (which I’ll get to farther down) from Pavel Lysenkov, a sports writer for Sovetsky Sport in Russia, when it occurred to me: he’s completely right – there’s no reason why players who left North America to go play in the KHL during the lockout shouldn’t participate in the league’s All-Star Game

When a lockout-ending agreement was reached, most KHLers with NHL deals immediately hopped on planes and headed back west, which sort of leaves the KHL and its All-Star Game with a sizable hole. Check out how the KHL top-10 scoring list currently sits:

That’s Malkin, Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, Kulemin and Datsyuk that they’re being deprived of. (Hey, by the way – it’s great that Alexei Kovalev was invited to training camp in Florida, but does anyone want to hit on Moyzakin? I wrote about him a couple months ago. He has 20 more points than league’s all-time leading scorer Alex Radulov.)

The point is, if we’re expecting a relationship of good will between the two leagues, this would have been a minor concession to make. Hell, the CBA isn’t even ratified yet, and can’t be until the weekend. We’re all up in arms over here because the K might not honour our agreement, yet the second we have a chance to do them a solid, we pull the rug out from under them.

The KHL All-Star Game is on Sunday, our Saturday, and as it currently sits, it looks like only Kovalchuk will take part. Here’s how the KHL’s vice president Vladimir Shalaev described Kovalchuk’s participation, from Tom Gulitti (with more help from Pavel Lysenkov) on the Devils blog Fire & Ice:

“The CBA will not be signed until Sunday. So Kovalchuk (has) no employment relationship with the NHL, and he is going to Chelyabinsk. …We are disappointed that all the other NHL stars were quick to go to North America…”

Fair points all around. (Chelyabinsk, obviously, is where the All-Star Game is being played.)

Here are the aforementioned tweets from Lysenkov. Pretty simple point, really:

It sounds like Kovy will, again, but no reason the others couldn’t have.

And that’s the crux of it for me. “Thanks for welcoming us back, it was fun to play at home for awhile, and fuck it, it’s just another game of shinny.” I mean, seriously, these guys could’ve coasted around in neutral for a night, and it would have been the perfect time to head back to the NHL. But, the NHL wants their guys back and they want them back now. I think some of the comments by KHL President Alexander Medvedev other the past couple days are pretty silly…

Obviously the relationship between the two leagues is contentious, but if we hope to put an end to opinions like the one above – from the league President, no less – it wouldn’t kill us to offer an olive branch on petty issues like the All-Star Game.


(Oh, and also…there’s this: