2) Several things jump out at us:
- Even the top team's payroll is FAR from the NHL. Only 1 team has a payroll over 30 mil. ( They apparently have a 'soft' cap? The median payroll is about 12 million. Even bottom revenue NHL teams BEFORE the salary cap were above that level. The NHL shouldn't have a huge issue retaining talent if only a handful of teams over there can throw away money.
- With so much disparity, (highest payroll is more than 700% the lowest) the lower teams won't compete/won't attract an audience. Although so far, this similar issue hasn't hurt MLB attendance, can a league that is trying to expand, build up a reputation have many teams remain bottom feeders and retain/attain a decent following?
- When the KHL began to 'flex its muscles'/play hardball against the NHL oil was hovering at $145/barrel. Today its falling below $75. Why does this matter? A great deal of the income for the majority of the KHL owners either comes directly or indirectly from this. With commodities falling like a rock can even the top teams throw money away?
- The recent death of Alexei Cherepanov illustrated better than any opinion we could give how the KHL, and Russia in general is still in many ways a 3rd world country. Players go there at their own risk.
3) The bottom line/our conclusion to all this is that its looking less and less that the KHL will/can become a TRUE rival league to the NHL. The folks over there are not stupid, and are probably starting to see this as well. Which is why we at FAUXRUMORS believe that we will see a gradual softening of the KHL positions as they relate to pilfering off NHL talent. They should see the NHL as a possible partner that could supply them with talent when NHL teams may want to 'hide' salary by "loaning' a player to the KHL. (see Vitaly Vishnevski- N.J. Devils) Thereby circumventing the salary cap here. We may also finally have some meaningful discussions about a fair transfer agreement. The Russians may have to give in a little here (as should the NHL), but getting something is significantly better than getting nothing for their home grown players, niet?