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The Split KHL Thread: legitimate long term talent threat?


DaGreatGazoo

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So, if the CBA is amended to NOT participate. Can the league, or more importantly, the NHLPA, prevent players from participating? Can they even fine them? The Olympics are outside NHL jurisdiction. I think a bigger problem would be teams. Are the Pens/Caps/Flyers etc, going to let players miss 3 weeks of NHL action if the league doesn't go. NO WAY!!

Then what happens if Ovie says, "screw you, mother Russia is calling"

Those scenarios are ugly. Very ugly.

I will say this: the NHL being in the Olympics is great for the GAME of hockey. It is bad for the business of the NHL.

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@DaGreatGazoo

 

 Does OV saying "Screw you, Mother Russia is calling" really have any effect on Russia or Washington winning anything? :huh:

 

 No, not really but if OV or Zetts left for the KHL in order to play for Mother Russia, what would happen to the season ticket fan base?  Some may scoff, but these guys are deadly serious about representing their countries, so much so that I believe they would pack up and leave to attain that goal. After all, they would double the NHL cap max to play in the KHL, so it's not a pipedream.

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@jammer2

 

 If I'm a Caps fan, I'm starting to tire of OVs selfish play. Sure it';s great to see goals scored, but after awhile, I want to see some TEAM success. Which he does not bring.

 

 And I'm pretty sure those comrades have lost a bit of Russian pride getting their asses handed to them, at home. Do they really care so much about the next Olympics? I doubt it. They wanted the glory of winning at home. All they got was embarrassed.

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I would agree with @radoran that you'd see a lot of three-year deals signed in order to participate in the Olympics.  It seems like the most logical solution if there happens to be any divide between the NHL and the players.  I think the NHL recognizes that they are not the only elite hockey league in the world (like MLB is to baseball).  So for the league to forbid its players from participating would be a futile, empty gesture, and in the end would only hurt the league more than these injuries are hurting it now.  It's unfortunate that these players are hurt while playing in someone else's uniform, but that's I honestly don't think there is a better way to approach this.  In the long run, and from all angles, having the NHL players in the Olympics is both good for the NHL and good for the Olympics.

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If there's ever a time from ceasing Olympic participation, it is now. For Sochi, it was a no-brainer to let it happen because of the high Russian representation in the NHL. But South Korea?

More middle of the night games with no NHLers for the home country. Yeah, it's a good time to stop the charade.

The NHL and players did just fine when they didn't participate in the Olympics. No one stomped their feet and pouted. Now that the door's been open for a little while, you might have a bit of that next time around. But, it will go away.

The NHL doesn't need the Olympics. It's already the best league in the world with the best players competing for the most difficult trophy in sports.

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Would they bail on NHL teams to play in the Olympics? I really doubt it. Remember, before they were allowed to play in the Olympics, many of them still came here to be in the NHL. I'm not so sure that would change. For a few maybe, but I'm not so sure a significant amount. This is the greatest, most challenging league in the world, and it pays millions. I don't know that you trade that for two weeks of international play that won't even have the best in it anymore.

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@Polaris922  Well, challenging can only go so far....

 

 1) They get to play for their homeland, and are worshiped as heroes by friends and family alike, but mostly about patriotism.

 

 2) They still get to play pro hockey, even if it is the KHL....

 

 3) Their salaries are doubled.

 

 4) They get to finally return home, America is only a means to an end for these guys...how many stay after retirement?

 

 I'm thinking that's enough reasons for many to make the jump.

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Would they bail on NHL teams to play in the Olympics? I really doubt it. Remember, before they were allowed to play in the Olympics, many of them still came here to be in the NHL. I'm not so sure that would change. For a few maybe, but I'm not so sure a significant amount. This is the greatest, most challenging league in the world, and it pays millions. I don't know that you trade that for two weeks of international play that won't even have the best in it anymore.

 

"Before the NHL played in the Olympics" there wasn't the option for these professionals to play in the Games. And there really weren't a lot of Europeans in the early 90s and before (there were obviously some notables). Jari Kurri, for example, wasn't playing for Finland. Selanne played in 92 (before his rookie NHL year), but not in '94 and then in '98 the pros went.

 

Now that the genie is out of the bottle it's a lot more difficult to put back in.

 

Kovalchuk is earning millions playing in the KHL and turned down millions to play in the NHL. It's not at all beyond the realm of possibility that the Datsyuks/Malkins/Overchickens (Alfredssons/Forsbergs/Zetterbergs) of the future would set their careers to be able to play for their home country and play in the NHL in "off years."

 

You certainly can't tell me there wouldn't be GMs lining up to get that talent if it was available.

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@radoran  It's a legit offer, and one that should be taken seriously. If the NHL does not go to South Korea, what's to stop a star from signing a 3 year deal, going over there for 3x's the NHL's cap max (who knows, maybe it's 4 or 5x's more by then, who knows?) and representing their beloved country.....answer = absolutely friggin NOTHING. 

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@radoran  It's a legit offer, and one that should be taken seriously. If the NHL does not go to South Korea, what's to stop a star from signing a 3 year deal, going over there for 3x's the NHL's cap max (who knows, maybe it's 4 or 5x's more by then, who knows?) and representing their beloved country.....answer = absolutely friggin NOTHING. 

 

What's to stop Russians or Swedes under contract from saying "you have to give me this time off, or I'm bolting to the KHL like Kovalchuk"

 

The KHL is not just Omsk and Novosibirsk - you can play in PRAGUE. There are FIVE teams in Moscow.

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@radoran  Despite the Radulov mess, I thought there was an agreement between the KHL and the NHL for poaching players, no?  I guess they could just "retire" like Kovy and call it a day, huh? Something also tells me, when talking about a star like OV, Malkin etc.....that agreement would not be worth the paper it was written on.

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I don't know... obviously the KHL is paying more..  yet many of those players remain here, passing on three and four times the salary to be here.  What's keeping them here?  I agree there are many who enjoy the international competition... but is that single tournament enough that they'd walk away?  I just don't know.  Would the NHL pull a solidarity thing and say "can't do that" to the three year sprints?  There are a lot of variables here, but even without that I honestly think MOST would stay in the NHL.  

 

As a side, I don't see the NHL stopping them from playing.  It brings a LOT of attention to hockey.  

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I don't know... obviously the KHL is paying more..  yet many of those players remain here, passing on three and four times the salary to be here.  What's keeping them here?  I agree there are many who enjoy the international competition... but is that single tournament enough that they'd walk away?  I just don't know.  Would the NHL pull a solidarity thing and say "can't do that" to the three year sprints?  There are a lot of variables here, but even without that I honestly think MOST would stay in the NHL.  

 

As a side, I don't see the NHL stopping them from playing.  It brings a LOT of attention to hockey.  

 

The KHL isn't "paying more" overall, but they are beginning to become competitive. They wouldn't be offering Big Bucks to anything but Russian talent at the moment, but as they expand into Western Europe, I could see KHL teams in Sweden, Finland, Germany, etc.

 

The question isn't "rightnow" it's a question of the next 5-10 years.

 

Do you honestly think that if a Malkin or an Ovechkin style talent was available on a three-year basis that there wouldn't be GMs lining up to sign them?

 

Garth Snow just traded for Vanek, for crying out loud.

 

"Solidarity" lasts as long as it takes to sign a guy who has the ability to turn your franchise around.

 

And a LOT of franchises are looking for that.

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What's keeping them here?  I agree there are many who enjoy the international competition... but is that single tournament enough that they'd walk away?  

 

Put it this way, Sweden didn't put Peter Forsberg on a postage stamp because he won the Stanley Cup.

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@radoran

@JackStraw

 

I still have to ask... if the Oympics are so important to them, why were they still streaming here before the NHL players could play in them?  It remains the best league in the world, at least for now...  and I think that still means something.  

 

I believe I've said rather directly that that is absolutely true rightnow. The question lies in the next 5-10 years - at the outside.

 

Again, we're talking about a situation where you have similar - if not superior - compensation, are closer to home and can compete in international competitions.

 

To be clear, I expect the NHL to remain the de facto best league in the world for quite some time. There won't be a lot of Canadian farmboys who will give up on the Cup anytime soon. And the plane crashes and medical staff questions will certainly haunt for quite a while.

 

But Europeans taking a few years here and there in Europe under the specific circumstances or even the three-year contract idea I floated isn't beyond the realm of possibility.

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not sayin I told ya so but I predicted a Russian superstar returning home mid career a year before Kovy left.

 

  I am also going to say this, either this summer or at the absolute latest some corn fed north American boy star or semi-star will sign with the KHL. Mark my words.

 

  The KHL as currently assembled is reminding me more and more of the old WHA. I know I am a bit off topic with my Nostradamus thing here but I really think they will start making encroachments into the NHL and if the whole Olympic thing is dangling come 2018 we may see an Exodus en mass of Europeans back home, at least for that season, which while it would certainly make Don Cherry happy, it would water down our sport.....

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not sayin I told ya so but I predicted a Russian superstar returning home mid career a year before Kovy left.

 

  I am also going to say this, either this summer or at the absolute latest some corn fed north American boy star or semi-star will sign with the KHL. Mark my words.

 

  The KHL as currently assembled is reminding me more and more of the old WHA. I know I am a bit off topic with my Nostradamus thing here but I really think they will start making encroachments into the NHL and if the whole Olympic thing is dangling come 2018 we may see an Exodus en mass of Europeans back home, at least for that season, which while it would certainly make Don Cherry happy, it would water down our sport.....

 

Hockey is one of the few sports (soccer/football being the other) that is truly an "international" game. The NHL's dominant place is a reflection of the isolation of the North American market and concentration of talent from Canada (and the USA). It was the place where Europeans wanted to "break into" to make big money and get big recognition. It's not the same as it was 20 years ago. "Euros" have won the Cup as captain. They have been the undisputed MVPs of the league.

 

And now they have an increasingly legitimate alternative in the KHL.

 

The Stanley Cup is for the best hockey team in North America. And will continue to be. I personally believe it is the most difficult annual tournament in sports.

 

But the game is much more international and the "national" hockey league is going to have to change with the times.

 

Will there ever be a "Gagarin/Stanley" Final? I think the possibility is closer than a lot of NHL fans would be comfortable with.

 

It almost has to be.

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Hockey is one of the few sports (soccer/football being the other) that is truly an "international" game.

 

Good post but I have to disagree with this part.  Hockey is nowhere near as "international" as soccer/football.  In international competition, there are only a handful on teams that are serious contenders for whatever title is on the line: USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finalnd.  Maybe you can consider the Czech Republic and Slovakia but when they do well in international competition it's becoming more and more of a surprise.

 

Even baseball, which I don't regard as an international sport, has that many - if not more - countries that regularly contend in international competition.  USA, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Japan, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, Venezuela.

 

Just doesn't seem to fit what I consider to be "international" when it's not played in more countries (not hockey's fault) and among the countries that do, most are not very good.

 

Soccer is in a class by itself.

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Good post but I have to disagree with this part.  Hockey is nowhere near as "international" as soccer/football.  In international competition, there are only a handful on teams that are serious contenders for whatever title is on the line: USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finalnd.  Maybe you can consider the Czech Republic and Slovakia but when they do well in international competition it's becoming more and more of a surprise.

 

Even baseball, which I don't regard as an international sport, has that many - if not more - countries that regularly contend in international competition.  USA, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Japan, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, Venezuela.

 

Just doesn't seem to fit what I consider to be "international" when it's not played in more countries (not hockey's fault) and among the countries that do, most are not very good.

 

Soccer is in a class by itself.

 

Oh, I agree that soccer/football is in a true "class by itself" - but there isn't another North American league (Baseball, Basketball, American Football) that has the same challenge that the KHL presents for the NHL.

 

The KHL has teams in Czech, Croatia, Slovakia, Latvia (Ukraine, Belarus) - oh, and Kazakhstan.

 

Baseball - to use your example - is a Western Hemisphere game with a couple countries (Japan, Taiwan) with a history closely linked to the USA. There are also a handful of Japanese players who have made the MLB ranks. There are nine current Japanese players in MLB - just 43 more have ever played - and ten Taiwanese who have ever played in the majors. Of 750 players on major league rosters, that's 1.2% Japanese.

 

There are 28 active Finns in the NHL, 32 active Russians. Of the 560 "active roster" players in the NHL that's over 5% Finnish and 5% Russian. Just two non-North American countries - more than 10% of active players in the league. Add Sweden (50 players, 8.9%) and Czech (37, 6.6%)  and more than a quarter of the league is non-North American (not even counting Swiss, Latvian, etc.)

 

That pretty much makes Belarus (9 players, 1.6%) the "Japan" of NHL hockey players.

 

Moreover, the KHL could easily expand into Finland, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Austria - not to mention "Western Europe" proper. There are obvious challenges but given where the NHL draws talent from, that "international" competition (which, again, no other sport legitimately faces) is a clear and present danger ongoing.

 

Finally, the Olympics dropped baseball from competition in 2008 after five appearances. An original part of the Winter Games, no one has ever seriously considered dropping men's hockey from the Winter Games.

 

(Oh, and "Puerto Rico"? Not a country :D)

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Oh, I agree that soccer/football is in a true "class by itself" - but there isn't another North American league (Baseball, Basketball, American Football) that has the same challenge that the KHL presents for the NHL.

 

The KHL has teams in Czech, Croatia, Slovakia, Latvia (Ukraine, Belarus) - oh, and Kazakhstan.

 

Baseball - to use your example - is a Western Hemisphere game with a couple countries (Japan, Taiwan) with a history closely linked to the USA. There are also a handful of Japanese players who have made the MLB ranks. There are nine current Japanese players in MLB - just 43 more have ever played - and ten Taiwanese who have ever played in the majors. Of 750 players on major league rosters, that's 1.2% Japanese.

 

There are 28 active Finns in the NHL, 32 active Russians. Of the 560 "active roster" players in the NHL that's over 5% Finnish and 5% Russian. Just two non-North American countries - more than 10% of active players in the league. Add Sweden (50 players, 8.9%) and Czech (37, 6.6%)  and more than a quarter of the league is non-North American (not even counting Swiss, Latvian, etc.)

 

That pretty much makes Belarus (9 players, 1.6%) the "Japan" of NHL hockey players.

 

Moreover, the KHL could easily expand into Finland, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Austria - not to mention "Western Europe" proper. There are obvious challenges but given where the NHL draws talent from, that "international" competition (which, again, no other sport legitimately faces) is a clear and present danger ongoing.

 

Finally, the Olympics dropped baseball from competition in 2008 after five appearances. An original part of the Winter Games, no one has ever seriously considered dropping men's hockey from the Winter Games.

 

(Oh, and "Puerto Rico"? Not a country :D)

 

Well said.

 

(And neither is Taiwan - depending on who you are asking ;) )

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