Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Russians Are Not Coming

The original intention was to concentrate on the upcoming NHL Entry Draft but seeing how so many Ranger fans are seeing all the stories about the Russians and their new league that we felt the need to address it. See what we are seeing is the Russians going about screwing things up more than becoming a legit competitor to the NHL.

Do not get us wrong if the Russians had their act together they could become that competitor but what will eventually doom their dream of becoming the equal to the NHL is themselves. See the one area that we see the Russians as not being able to figure out is how to put aside their own egos and work together for their own common good.

If the Russians ever realized that cooperation not competition with each other is the key to growing their own league then one could take them seriously. But the problem is before they have even dropped one single puck in their new KHL; they are already changing their own rules.

The KHL was supposed to have a salary cap of 22 million per team, then it got changed first to allow them to sign ONE star player then it has been changed yet again this time they can offer any amount to any player who has received a contract offer from an NHL team. It is a foolish plan by the Russians that will lead them down the same path as other attempts at professional sports leagues like the XFL, the WHA and more.

So far as everyone has noticed the marginal NHL players like Chris Simon, Robert Esche and John Grahame are the only ones who have signed on to play in Russia. What is not being said is that despite the dollar figures being tossed around that the Non-Russian star players have shown any interest in signing to play in Russia.

Ranger fans are worried that Alexi Cherepanov might choose to take the big bucks over signing with the Rangers and they should but not for long. See Cherepanov talked about how much he wanted to play against the best players in the NHL. He has known since the moment he was drafted just how much the NHL was going to pay him.

If the Russians want to pay Cherepanov 3-4 times the 875, 000 his NHL Entry Level Contract will pay him then there is nothing the Rangers can do to stop him. Yes it would be a shame to lose a first round pick but at the same time there is nothing the Rangers can do if the Russians are willing to overpay for him.

We also have some problems taking the Russians seriously as we have watched over the last decade how every single time they are on the verge of getting their act together and returning Russian hockey to where it was during the days of the Soviet Union they shoot themselves not in the foot but in the backside.

The Russians have never been able to show that they can work together for more than short periods of time so given their track record then we do not expect the Russians to work together long enough to become any kind of competitor to the NHL.

One area where we want to really stress is that despite the public face of the new Russian KHL Alexander Medvedev being on the IIHF council in no way shape or form is he also speaking for the IIHF. We have gotten to know some of the wonderful folks at the IIHF and this has to be embarrassing them.

The IIHF has worked long and very hard trying to build up areas of cooperation between the NHL and their member nations so this is the last thing they want to see happen. The IIHF wants the hockey world to work together to build the sport and what the Russians are doing will hurt the sport.

The IIHF has been working on trying to get Europe's prospects to develop at home before heading to the NHL instead of having them spending time in the AHL or ECHL. It is a move that makes sense since the NHL does not have to pay salaries for players not ready to play in the NHL while getting their European prospects to play against higher levels of competition.

People will also make a big deal about the 200,000 dollar figure that the NHL currently pays for the rights to European prospects but what we do not see is that the NHL is willing to pay that amount whether a prospect is under contract or not.

Just wondering if the KHL has offered to pay anything to any of the NHL teams who's players they have just signed? Now if the Russians are willing to sign a player transfer contract then we got to ask would they be willing to pay a transfer fee for any NHL player they sign?

After all have the NHL teams spent money developing those North American players the Russians are signing these days? Are they even making any kind of offer to make such a payment?

Where we sit if the Russians want the NHL to pay for the rights to one of their players then we think that the NHL, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey should expect some compensation for what they have spent in developing their talent.

Want to be how fast nobody wants to talk about that subject?

We hope that people realize that what the Russians are attempting to do is when you boil it down is nothing but a bad publicity stunt.

Please do not believe that Jagr is even talking to any Russian team as we know that Jagr being the proud player he is will not sign just for money, he wants a chance to win as well.

Playing in Russia will not give him a chance to play for one more Stanley Cup. We believe that means a lot more to Jagr than what the Russians are supposedly offering him.

If nobody minds we hope to go back to playing with the NHL Entry Draft tomorrow.


Anthony M said...

I have been trying in vain to find an article I read that the NHl is going to change its policy in reference to Russian draft picks - and perhaps all Europeans not covered by transfer agreements.

The gist of the article is that the NHL will treat the players as (IIRC) "expatriates" and that the NHL teams will hold their rights beyond the two-0year limit. Is this actually the case?

Jess Rubenstein said...

I have not heard any article like that but I would question it because a change like that would require a change to the CBA meaning the NHLPA would also have to agree to the change.