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:


Comments (6)

  1. Gotta think that the posturing by the KHL leadership, both recently and in the past, makes any notion of giving them an inch out of the question. These aren’t people that you do a favor for, they are people you watch your back when you’re around.

    And on the Mozyakin thing, gotta figure playing with Malkin has a lot to do with his big points jump this season (although he has had good numbers in the past).

  2. I would question the SportsDaily.ru quotes of Medvedev. Not respectful enough source. Surprised that Malamud is not questioning them.

  3. The one good argument I can think of to leave ASAP – practice with your teammates, get timing down, comfort level, etc.

    Also, how many of those players have family & homes in US and want to get back?

  4. Completely agree with this. Most players choose to come sprinting back to North America, and that’s completely fine. But I feel bad for all the leagues and teams suddenly left in the lurch. They knew it might come to this, but that doesn’t mean it feels good. Who knows what reason Kovalchuk has for staying in Russia for a few more days, but if it is to say goodbye to his home-country, and through a glorified game of shinny to say thank you to the fans who welcomed him warmly knowing full-well that he will be gone again, then good for him. If it’s not, I’m still not going to blame him for wanting to stay home for a few more days.

  5. I would imagine Ovechkin at least is aware that if he stayed a day longer than necessary, he’d be getting more crap from the media, given his more outspoken stance during the beginning of the lockout. Of the four– Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, and Kovalchuk, he takes the most heat and/or criticism, commensurate with his status. While I agree there’s no reason any of the four shouldn’t be allowed to stay and thank the KHL fans, I suspect he figured his better option was to be back in DC promptly.

    Personally, I’m extremely interested in knowing more about the rumor that he and the other three players planned to hold a press conference stating they were staying in the KHL.

  6. why did the players bolt from russia asap… same reason they came to north america in the first place.. its russia

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