NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2013.

More CBA analysis, the KHL’s president slams the NHL, and the latest on Martin St. Louis, Marian Hossa, David Perron, Daniel Briere and more.

THE SPORTING NEWS: Liz Mullen reports player agents aren’t expecting many major changes under the new NHL CBA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Other than a 7-year cap on contract term limits and variance limits on salaries, there really hasn’t been many significant changes to the rules governing player salaries. Free agent and arbitration right remain unchanged, while the rules regarding “no-trade” and “no-movement” clauses remain intact.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Allan Maki reports the NHL will find out soon enough how much damage the lockout did to its brand, while Roy MacGregor warns the KHL is becoming a viable alternative to the NHL, especially for Russian players, suggesting the day could soon come when a major Russian star opts to play there.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun scolds KHL president Alexander Medvedev for his recent critical comments toward the NHL, pointing out the league and the NHLPA has yet to commit to the Sochi Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Medvedev’s bluster aside, everyone knows the NHL & NHLPA will sign off on participating in the Sochi Games. MacGregor makes a solid point regarding the possibility a Russian NHL superstar of the caliber of Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin or Pavel Datsyuk could one day decide to jump permanently to the KHL, or opt to play their early professional years there. Xenophobic NHL fans won’t care, forgetting the fact the NHL brand would suffer with fewer Russian superstars.

SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange wonders if free agent defenseman Chris Campoli’s hard work on behalf of the NHLPA during the recent contentious CBA negotiations with the NHL might cost him a job in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Campoli’s play has more to do with his future employment.

St. Louis' star still shines brightly at 37.

St. Louis’ star still shines brightly at thirty-seven.

TAMPABAY.COM: Ageless Lightning star Martin St. Louis, 37, is looking forward to the upcoming shortened season.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Marian Hossa is pleased with his recovery from the concussion which knocked him out of last spring’s playoffs in his preparation for this season.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blues Jackets are adjusting to the absence of former captain Rick Nash, who was dealt last summer to the NY Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least the Blue Jackets won’t be distracted by the Nash trade rumors anymore.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward David Perron is fully recovered from his previous post-concussion symptoms and looks forward to continuing his NHL career.

PHILLY.COM: Defenseman Andrej Meszaros may be ready to go for the Flyers season opener on Saturday, while Daniel Briere (wrist injury) could return by January 22.

NEWSDAY: Islanders forward Kyle Okposo hopes his improved scoring over the  second half of last season carries over into this one.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings could be without defenseman Willie Mitchell for a while longer, as  he suffered a recent setback in his recovery from off-season knee surgery. Forward Anze Kopitar, who suffered a sprained knee playing overseas, skated briefly yesterday wearing a knee brace.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Chris Kreider had a strong post-season last spring, but isn’t guaranteed a roster spot with the Rangers this season.

RDS.CA’ s Renaud Lavoid reports via Twitter the Anaheim Ducks have signed Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to a one-year, $ 550 000$ (2 way) contract.

9 Comments

  1. Lyle,

    I agree with you about Medvedev’s comments except for the xenophobe part. I don’t think in the long run anybody will care about Russians (or anybody else for that matter) leaving the NHL to play in the KHL. The league didn’t collapse when Gretzky retired, it didn’t collapse when Lemieux retired (several times), and it won’t collapse when any other players retire or leave.

    If Crosby and Malkin both left the league to play in the KHL, it would matter for a short period of time, but everybody in the US and Canada would move on quickly. The league is bigger than any group of players.

    I had to laugh at Comrad Medvedev’s Marxist bluster. “Their hearts, he added, are made ‘from another material and has money signs stuck to it.’ ” Stalin would be so proud.

    • If it was jyst one player I’d be more likely to agree with you but I think the bigger issue is if one star player leaves it could easily convince others to do the same. And while Malkin, Ovechkin,Datsyuk, and others might not be my favorites loosing all three as well as others would definitely hurt the play on the ice. That’s not to suggest the NHL would “collapse”without them but it would suffer.

      • I disagree that the NHL would suffer with losses of numerous stars to the KHL. Every year there are long periods of time where stars from around the league, from many nationalities, are out with injury at the same time. Others step up to the plate, but ultimately teams aren’t losing fans just because the stars might be out.

        We hear all the time about “the best player not in the NHL” in the media when they are talking about some guy playing in Europe. Most of the time these guys, whether they come to North America or not, no one cares except perhaps the fans of the team that signs that one guy or the writer looking for a story. I suspect that if going forward you had a large number of Russian players staying in Russia, there might be a few more “best player not in the NHL” stories floating around, but for the most part, North American fans wouldn’t care. Sure, initially we would know that Datsyuk, or Ovechkin were over there, but with time, it would just be a bunch of names that no one recognizes. Does anyone who isn’t a Flames fan know who Roman Cervenka is?

        • The NHL might not lose N.A. fans but if the top stars from Europe start going back the NHL will start losing fans over in Europe those hurting their global brand.

  2. I give Medvedev one point, it would have been seen as a real gesture of sportsmanship, especially between the two leagues, for the owners to allow Ovechkin and Malkin to play in the All Star game in front of thier countrymen. If it was a real game I might give the owners the benefit of the doubt because there is a chance one of them could be hurt but it was the All Star game for Pete’s sake and there would be zero chance anyone would get injured.
    Yes, the owners wanted them back for training camp but these players are probably in mid season form by now and both of them are experienced vets who know the team’s systems inside out.
    It wouldn’t have hurt anyone for them to have played.
    About the NHL owners hearts having dollar signs on them (as if Medvedev’s doesn’t) we just went through a lockout that proved that fact to be a given.

    One day, possibly not that far in the distant future, the NHL will have a European division and it will either be a fully integrated league, meaning made up of players from all counties not just Europe, and North American born players will have to adjust to playing abroad just as their Russian/ European born brethren do now or it will be stocked with non-North American born players and allow European born players to stay and play closer to home.

  3. The KHL is run by corruption and greed. The NHL is mostly only run by greed. The real issue is that only russians will see the KHL as an alternative and even they have so far not been overly committed to staying there. Look at Kovalev wanting back in NHL this year. The KHL, hockey wise is several steps below the NHL in talent, Coaching etc. and will never come close to rivaling the NHL in the foreseeable future. Especially if the corruption and other problems that run rampant through the league continue. To suggest otherwise i ludicrous and any reporter doing so is just looking to fill a slow news day. Also calling NHL fans Xenophobic is down right insulting and oversimplifying what is more an issue of national pride. ie. Given the choice between two equivalent star players I would be more fan of the Canadian one, because I am Canadian. Nothing wrong with showing favoritism towards your fellow country man.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. There are also far too many stories of downright shady business practices. Guys coming into a contract meeting to be greeted by hire goons, getting on planes to travel to an away game that appear to be held together by duct tape, staying in hotels that should be condemned, pay cheques not being paid until the owner decides he feels like paying it.

      Basically, there are far greater risks in the KHL when it comes to the off ice aspects of a career in professional hockey. In the NHL, provided you play to a level that you can earn a contract, you know that your pay cheques are coming on a set schedule, you know that you will be on a team plane that isn’t going to fall apart or be using suspect fuel, you will be staying in high priced quality hotels, you will have access to the best medical staff that money can buy, etc. These are the things the KHL simply can’t offer players, and it is becoming an all too familiar tale to hear about players going to the KHL and quickly wanting out. The lure of tax-free pay simply can’t offset the other aspects that players have to deal with there.

    • I give you the fact that there has been and probably still is a lot of corruption going on in the KHL but to suggest that corruption in any way, shape or form is not nor has not gone on in the NHL is equally as ludicrous. In the old days when team owners such as Conn Smythe and the disreputable Harold Ballard, who was jailed for tax evasion, to name just two ran the league as though it were their own personal fiefdom. They colluded on players salaries and got together to exile players who were trying to start a union. In fact how the NHL became the NHL from the original National Hockey association (NHA) smacks of corruption.
      I am sure every league has had its growing pains, some more than others, and had/have less than reputable owners, but I believe that all of that will change with the KHL and in the next 10 to 20 years the NHL, in some form, will expand overseas and the KHL will a large part play a role in the expansion.

  4. The Bluejackets organization is so bad right now, they could hold a contest that allows one fan to win the chance to be General Manager of the team for one season, and their organization would probably still improve at a faster rate.