So The NHL is under attack by Mother Russia and the newly formed KHL Kontinental Hockey League. With the overture and offer made to Malkin, the exodus of Aging Star Jagr and now the potential departure of NashvilleStar-in-the-making Alex Radulov some people are saying the war has begun. Fact is the NHL and KHL are currently working together on an agreement that would see both sides respecting contracts and not trying to sabotage one anothers rosters.This is a good thing and the now scrapped transfer agreement between the NHL and European Clubs will be revised, perhaps it will become more like the one used in European Professional Soccer where transfer fees are based on players Experience, Accomplishments and perceived future value.
The days of any real threat from a European league truly competing with the long established NHL on a regular basis for top talent I would hazard is still some ways off. The KHL which is essentially last years RSL with 4 additional teams also from what is geographically considered Eurasiahas traditionally been a league of Haves and have-nots Brides and Bridesmaids this will most likely continue even with the influence of the Russian Billionaires club. However do not expect the Heads of the newly formed KHL to sit on their hands idly, in fact They have already sent invites out to Karpat of the Finnish SMLigga, Farjestadts and Frolunda of the Swedish Elitseiren, the Mannheim Eagles of the German DELand Energie Karlovy Vary of the Czech ExtraLiga. None of these teams have accepted yet but some of them have shown interest or curiosity.
With the Braintrusts of the NHL, KHL and other European leagues playing nice and working on mutually beneficial agreements that would try to further Champion the game on an international level. I can envision an eventual European NHL division. I have believed for some time that NHL teams in various European cities would be more viable than some of the American markets where the teams are barely a footnote in the Sports pages. A number of cities are hockey mad and have facilities that could support current league attendance averages. Oddly enough Russia has some of the smaller arenas on the whole but I am sure they could spare some of those billions generated from their wealth of natural resources on 3 or 4 new NHL sized facilities. Sure some of you are probably saying what about the travel? Well in all honesty flying east to Finland, Sweden or Germany from many of the NHL's eastern conference cities does not take that much longer than them flying west to Vancouver or California. A well designed Schedule could see a string of inter-conference games played on a couple extended road trips to cut down on too many long flights. I can see Aeroflot/Lufthansa/AirCanada etc. all lining up to become the affiliate carriers of teams located in their home countries.
This may just be the musings of a hopeful fan with an eye to the future but I for one would love to sit down with a cold beer to catch my beloved Leafs taking on our new Cross ocean rivals the Legendary Moscow Dynamo or those hated Frolunda Indians ;-)
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