Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Meanwhile Over In Russia...

by Czechmate - with quotes from KHL Press Service

The fledgling Kontinental Hockey League in Russia had a meeting of its Board Of Governors, on August 2nd, to evaluate some key development ideas for the league moving forward. Among the topics of discussion, of course, was the clarification of the handshake agreement between the KHL and NHL that was made in early July. This issue has been in the forefront recently, with the IIHF's suspension of Alexander Radulov (along with Jason Krog, Tomas Mojzis, Victor
Tikhonov, Nikita Filatov, and Fedor Fedorov) for signing a contract with Salavat Ufa ofthe KHL while still under contract to the NHL's Nashville Predators.
"The KHL is cooperating with the IIHF and the NHL. It is in our interest to settle all these issues quickly and in a civilized manner," stated the Chairman of the KHL Board of Directors Sergei Naryshkin. "We are pleased to note that all the parties to the debate declare their willingness to respect the others' viewpoint. The only thing left is to formally confirm these intentions and sign an agreement, which will precisely regulate all the minute details, in particular, dealing with players' transfers and mutual respect of contracts."
Accordingly, the Russians have submitted all applicable documents to the IIHF for review in hopes of resolving the Radulov situation.

My feeling is that Radulov will not play for the Predators this season, even if the result is his suspension from IIHF-sanctioned events. Quite frankly, if he is forced back to Nashville, we can likely expect him to pout and play half-heartedly, which ultimately doesn't help the Preds in the least. It might be best for them to simply allow him to walk away at this stage.

Another item which was discussed was the creation of a youth league for the KHL, which would act as a development/farm system for the KHL's clubs.
"The best hockey players between the ages of 17 to 20 will be embraced by this league," said Alexander Medvedev. "The establishment of the youth league will be made possible on the basis of the already existing KHL farm clubs acting as the de facto youth teams."
Now, while this sounds like a good idea on the surface, one has to wonder if using existing farm teams for this youth league is prudent, seeing as how players who fall outside the age parameters who currently play in the farm league will be without a place to play. The possible solution to this is allowing a set number of "over-agers" on each of these teams, in a similar fashion to the Canadian Junior leagues.

On the plus side, such a league will likely help the Russians keep some of their brighter young stars at home, rather than seeing them leave to play in the CHL, which is viewed as a good adjustment step for Russian players to take en route to the NHL, although it is a path seldom travelled. Certainly this youth league will pay the players a salary at some level, and it will make it more enticing for their home-developed players to put in some service domestically.

What will be interesting is whether or not this youth league pays its players enough to attract young stars from other nations. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what kind of reaction there would be to a John Tavares leaving Canada to play in the KHL youth league?

Finally, the KHL Board of Governors announced a TV deal with "Sport-TV", a free channel in Russia that will broadcast KHL games. It has a viewership of roughly 2.5-million people, which should increase with this agreement.

You can find Sport-TV online at sportbox.ru (although you'd best learn the Cyrillic alphabet first!)

That's it for now...

Na Zdravi!

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