Thursday, August 24, 2006

NHL Europe ?

Sooner or later I think they'll have to do it.

The NHL has won some and they have lost some recently in it's battles with Russia over hockey players for their respective leagues. Some players are fleeing Russia for the NHL... BUT ...some are fleeing the NHL for Russian or European leagues.
While Evgeni Malkin's flight to the National Hockey League has incensed Russian hockey officials, some NHL executives are growing hot under the collar at watching their players abandon North America for greener pastures in Russia.

Already the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders have lost three players to Russia this summer. Mark Gandler, the agent who represents those players, says Russia is an attractive option for "young, vibrant talent which is not properly treated [by NHL teams]."

Winger Eugeni Artukhin rejected Tampa's last offer and has signed on for more money in his native Russia. The same goes for Russian defenceman Denis Grebeshkov and Finnish winger Sean Bergenheim of the Islanders.

All three will earn more money this season playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl [...]

The Vancouver Canucks lost backup goalie Mika Noronen to Russian league club Ak Bars Kazan this month while star winger Nikolai Zherdev has also threatened to stay in Russia this season if the Columbus Blue Jackets don't pony up.

Zherdev is the only first-line player among them. The others find themselves squeezed by the NHL's salary-cap system in which most of the money goes to the marquee names.

(my emphasis)
Hmmm, more casualties of the new CBA. This is starting to remind me of the old battles for players between the NFL and the AFL before they merged. MAYBE that's what should happen here at some point. MAYBE it's time for the NHL to start at least thinking about a NHL Europe.

They seem to love hockey so over there...

Instead of fighting each other over players maybe they should join with each other like the NFL-AFL did. With interest in hockey so high in Europe I think a NHL World league would be a great idea for developing a future interest in, and thus the success of the NHL by bringing all the players and fans of the hockey world together under the one umbrella of the NHL. I think it'd create HUGE interest in the league with NHL North America going against NHL Europe for the Stanley Cup in the finals. Kind of like a World Cup atmosphere... but each year.

It sounds good to me.

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