Archive for the ‘KHL’ Category

via CBC

It was announced earlier this morning that locked-out players would be allowed to join the Swedish Elite League. Details are over at Matias Strozyk’s Twitter feed.

You have to wonder, with players going to Europe and the minors to keep in shape while the NHL is locked out, does that increase or decrease the amount of leverage that they have?

A number of people, led by the incorrigible Ryan Lambert, have been making the point on Twitter that the National Hockey League and it’s Players’ Association ought to quit posturing and get in a room and negotiate, but I don’t feel that that’s how things work. There’s no clear deadline for when a season would be missed completely, all we know is that the NHL officially pulled the plug on the 2004-05 season in mid-February of 2005.

No side has any significant leverage right now. The owners aren’t missing out on the big part of their revenues that mostly come in the second half of the season once football is over and games start being shown on NBC, and the players haven’t missed any paycheques yet.

But some will collect them. A number of players, stars even, have taken to Europe and the AHL, as noted above, they’ll be allowed to go to Sweden. Does this give the players more leverage since they can effectively say “we don’t need you, we’ll play right here” or can the owners say “yeah, and making 60% of your NHL paycheque”.

Alexander Ovechkin brought up the point when he discussed the plausibility of staying in Russia:

“Of course, I said it before, before I sign contract, that if the league decides to cut our salaries, cut our contracts for what they want I don’t know how many guys are coming back,” Ovechkin said. “We sign contract before. Why they have to cut our salary and our contracts right now? They sign us. [Now they] want to cut it. I think it’s a stupid idea and stupid decision by NHL, [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman and the guys who work there.”

I almost hope it happens, but for different reasons than Mike Milbury, just to keep the NHL on its toes.

Read the rest of this entry »

A good number of NHL players aren’t wasting any time in picking a European team to go play for, and find themselves getting settled into their new cities just days after the old CBA expired.

Over the course of the winter, we’ll be following the more interesting stories that our NHL boys are involved in (as well as doing a number of features to keep this from being a lockout blog – old goal analysis, rec league tips, a simulation season, player reviews and much more), so let’s establish a starting point: where are guys going to play?

The excellent hockey site “Elite Prospects” is great for tracking guys, and was largely the source for this. Some are still in the “rumour” stage (if you go to the site, you can see which are confirmed and which are still in the works), but this is likely where you’ll see guys going. Read the rest of this entry »

Darcy Hordichuk, top-level NHL player. (Jeff Vinnick, Getty Images)

At this point, it seems inevitable that the NHL is heading towards a lockout, leaving NHL players looking for other options. Young players on two-way contracts as well as some veterans have the AHL as an option, while other players are looking overseas at the European leagues. Prominent Russian players, like Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar, will be heading over to the KHL to play for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and the two hope to bring Sidney Crosby along with them.

The KHL would likely be thrilled to add Crosby to their ranks, but don’t want to see hordes of mediocre NHL players invading their league. At least, that’s the impression they’re trying to give and I’m just not buying it. On Wednesday, the league announced an amendment to their regulations, allowing for the temporary signing of limited numbers of NHL players.

The amendment sets certain criteria to ensure, according to KHLVice President of Hockey Operations, Vladimir Shalaev, that only “only top-level foreign players come to play in the Kontinental Hockey League.” TSN labeled the criteria “strict,” but they’re really nothing of the sort. Read the rest of this entry »

And so it was that Evgeni Malkin’s pronouncement earlier this summer that Sidney Crosby would consider playing overseas if there is a lockout was proven to be prophecy, confirmed by the NHL’s golden boy himself.

Why? He’s finally feeling healthy (“It’s been really good,” he told Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Nothing. I’ve been feeling 100 percent. It feels good to not have to think about that, and to work as hard as you want. It’s been really good.”), and, due to all that time he missed with a goofy brain in the last two seasons — 101 of 164 possible games — he apparently feels it might be best to not just sit around collecting escrow checks and waiting for the owners to remove the chains and padlocks from its teams’ rinks. And apparently, he looked very good indeed in working out with his teammates ahead of a trip to New York. Read the rest of this entry »

Fred Brathwaite. (Pic from the TorontoSun.com)

While there’s not a ton of major breaking news today, there has been a handful of interesting stories coming out that I thought I’d touch on today by bringing back “One Touch Passes” – my thoughts on the latest tidbits from around the world of hockey. It’s like what “Bourne’s Blog” used to be, minus the cat pictures. (Though I’d be willing to include them, y’know, if anybody wanted such a thing…)

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The NHL’s latest offer:

The League came back at the NHLPA yesterday with their latest proposal for a new CBA. In a nutshell, they don’t want to roll back salaries, but want to drop the salary cap a whole whackload of money…which would mean the players would pay more in escrow, which would be the same as a rollback, so…for them, what’s the difference? Read the rest of this entry »