Aug 202008
 

The NHL and KHL are in a war and marking clear their territories. Bill Daly, the NHL’s second-in-command, recently commented that the NHL is not interested in compensation from the KHL for signing players under NHL contracts, referring to Nashville’s Alexander Radulov, who recently signed a lucrative deal with Ufa in the KHL even though he had one year remaining on his NHL contract.

Daly maintains that contractual obligations must be respected, and that Radulov should not be allowed to suit up for Ufa (the Preds have been wise enough to defer the responsibilities to the league). Alexander Medvedev, the KHL’s commissioner, argues that Radulov’s signing (July 5) came days before the KHL-NHL agreement (July 10), and because the agreement was not retroactive, it doesn’t apply to Radulov. Medvedev also argues that Nikita Filatov, Viktor Tikhonov, Jason Krog, Tomas Mojzis, and Fedor Fedorov should not be playing in the NHL because of their existing contractual obligations to their respective KHL teams.

However, there seems to be a hole in Medvedev’s argument. Asides from Krog (11th) and Filatov (10th), the other three players signed before the date of the agreement: Fedorov (4th), Tikhonov (1st), and Mojzis (June 28th). Krog has maintained that he was not under contract with any KHL team despite previous reports that he had signed with a Russian team because he had an out clause that gave him until September 1 to find a NHL contract. And for Filatov, depending on what time zone you were in, he could’ve signed the contract before or after the deadline, although that would spark another endless debate between the two leagues.

The KHL, established after the end of the RSL’s playoffs, became a true legitimate threat to the NHL after they managed to lure away Jaromir Jagr. They had attempted to lure Evgeni Malkin back to Russia, but when that failed, most people breathed a sigh of relief, believing that perhaps the threats the KHL proposed should be taken with a grain of salt. Now that there is almost a bidding war on players, both leagues have decided to mark their territories by coming to this agreement, although it has come to be scrutinzed as fast as it was signed.

There is no governing body for both the NHL and KHL. The IIHF has no power over the two leagues, and as such cannot hand out punishments to players in either league. The six players are currently under investigation by the IIHF, and have been suspended indefinitely from international play, but I’m sure that doesn’t really bother Krog (Canadian), Fedorov (Russian), or Mojzis (Czech), considering they have zero to minimal chances of making their respective national squads. The IIHF lacks teeth, and as such I don’t expect their decisions to really hold any weight in the NHL or KHL, and as such, a complete waste of time. Whatever may be the case, the KHL and NHL will have a healthy rivalry for the foreseeable future.

  6 Responses to “Pissing Dogs”

  1.  

    There’s no doubt that the KHL is upping the anti when it comes to salaries, but this is still a salary cap league, and apart from absurd incentives, the teams cannot pay the sorts of salaries they are paying in their inaugural season.
    There is also the issue of playing in the RSL vs the NHL. The RSL is known for spotty payment track-records, poor facilities, inferior training facilities, and medical care, ad hoc management/coaching styles, and a complete lacking of peripheral support.
    Playing in the RSL will in many ways make playing on the AHL seem glamorous, and money only goes so far, and that money will not attract many top 6 NA or Western European players, and they’re still the life blood of the NHL.
    Give it a season or two, and it will blow over when RSL teams fold, or the “true” stories of life in the RSL come out.

  2.  

    From what I understand, players in the KHL make tax-free salaries, which immediately becomes a much more attractive option considering the high salary taxes in North America. The RSL has had a spotty track record, particularly teams that have changed sponsors year after year, but major teams like Dynamo Moscow or Metallurg haven’t had such glaring problems. However, we will never know if these alleged stories are true, but it seems like a lot of Russians are content in the KHL.

    I agree that money goes so far, but it does drive the business, and it does present another interesting option for free agent players. Gretzky had noted the attractiveness of the KHL’s offer for Malkin, and LeBron James had also commented about the option of playing in Europe. I think the KHL poses its biggest threat against mid-level players. Rookies in the KHL, from what I understand, aren’t restricted to entry-level contracts, and it becomes a very attractive option to stay in Russia. Radulov is a perfect example.

  3.  

    I know this is the KHL we’re talking about but the RSL teams made 0 money. They put money in but never got anything out. The games were cheap as heck to go, the owners put money in but ran in the red. Not a healthy business model, and if they are adding more ridiculously priced players, well good luck. The league will die off sooner or later.

  4.  

    Absolutely agree that this will be a viable option for low level talent, ageing UFA’s, and border line NHL’ers.
    The “tax free” line is a bit over used. RUS has a flat tax of around 13%, but a Canadian citizen would still have to pay the diference if they maintain property ownership in Canada, so this wipes out that incentive.

  5.  

    Marco, the original RSL lasted for almost 50 years, until the Soviet Union dissolved. The new RSL lasted for 12 years – I would think the KHL would for awhile.

  6.  

    Not at this expenditure level. The ticket revenues imply cannot support it. What is already a relatively uneven league will become untenable if the “no cap impact” signings come into play.

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