Hockey is back in North America, it's just not happening in North America.
In order to capitalize on the NHL lockout and perhaps provide some relief for desperate hockey fans this fall, ESPN and the Kontinental Hockey League have reached an agreement to broadcast live KHL games on ESPN3.
Fans won't have to wait for the players and owners to agree to a new CBA before they can watch stars like Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin go head-to-head on the ice.
Although it's not the NHL fans have come to know and love, the KHL is every bit as competitive and thrilling as North America's product.
|Wednesday, Oct. 3||Dynamo Moscow vs. Ak Bars|
|Saturday, Oct. 6||Lev vs. SKA|
|Sunday, Oct. 7||Slovan vs. Dynamo Moscow|
|Monday, Oct. 8||CSKA vs. SKA|
|Tuesday, Oct. 9||Lev vs. Dnyamo Moscow|
*All games can be seen on ESPN3.com.
Plenty of Ovie, Goals
Washington Capitals fans should be jumping for joy this fall. Three of the five KHL games being broadcast this week will feature Dynamo Moscow, the club Alex Ovechkin is playing for during the lockout.
The physical winger is a goal scoring machine and one of the funnest players to watch. Although sometimes the entertainment has come at a defensive cost to the Capitals, it's nonetheless must-see television.
Ovie scored 38 goals last season with Washington and has scored nearly 340 over seven seasons in DC.
What It Means for the NHL
Though the current NHL lockout has shown no signs of ending, the recent agreement between the KHL and ESPN is sure to shake things up a bit among the owners and commissioner Gary Bettman.
This isn't soccer where the Premier League is broadcast in North America because of sheer popularity, this is ice hockey. The best players belong in the NHL, nowhere else. The NHL should be embarrassed by what's happening now. Not only has the KHL temporarily taken its players, but now it's after its fans.
Soon enough, both sides will realize that they're losing money, damaging their brand and alienating fans. It's just a shame that it hasn't hit them quicker.
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