Monday, October 22, 2012

Russian Players Most Vocal?

1) Another day, another Russian born NHL player makes a comment about the current NHLPA-NHL stalemate.  This time it was Nashville Predators forward (for the record NOT Russian, but Belorussian) Sergei Kostitsyn.  According to reports the winger said he hopes the NHL lockout will last all season...Kostitsyn, who has joined Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League during the NHL lockout, said players want a certain answer from admitted that he had a hard time adjusting to life in North America.  "I couldn't get used to (American) mentality. They are totally different people from us."

2) Many will probably recall recent clear statements by Alexander Ovechkin, who has stated on more than one occasion that it may occur that Russian born players might not return to the NHL after the lockout is settled.  Failing to realize perhaps that despite its recent history of acrimony, the NHL and KHL have an agreement to honor the contracts of players in each respective league (No more Radulov pilfering). Its basically silly bluster considering Ovechkin has another 8 seasons under contract the Washington Capitals (at 10 million/season) Earlier we also heard from Sergei Gonchar and a few lesser stars mimicking Ovechkin's threat.

3) Meanwhile, there has been very little vocally stated or written by many other NHL players.  Certainly few have been making public anti owners/Bettman statements like Ovechkin via "The Bettman", oration in September.  In 2004 the was no shortage of players making their feeling well known. So why the change, and why only Russians?  The answers are really strait forward/easy. For one, and its no secret, Donald Fehr since he took over has asked the players from refraining from going public if they had problems with the league. Not an absolute forbiddence like the NHL has with its owners (ask Mr.Devalanno about that ) but a request to avoid any possible caustic language. In other words, 'leave that to me'. 

4) On the other hand the Russian players likely feel emboldened to be more vociferous because their prospects of getting work at home is becoming better by the day. As we have long outlined the KHL (although not quite yet) will be a real rival to the NHL visa vie Russian and European talent. Here: in 2008-----> and then 4 years later this summer.  So we feel the recent rash of vocalizations by the Russians is yet another step in making of the KHL a true rival league (for Euro talent anyway)  However for the time being we don't believe regardless of the CBA result the KHL is not quite ready to 'go to war' with the NHL.

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