Posts tagged “KHL”

KHL’s Lokomotiv Charter Plane Crash

Update (5:32 PM): The official blog has transcripts and video from Mike Babcock and Nick Lidstrom’s reactions to the news today. – Matt

Update (13:23 PM): @Detroit4lyfe thought to keep an eye on the list of victims of the crash and noticed Salei is now included. This whole thing is terrible and incomprehensible, but finally having it that the destruction from the crash is so complete is devastating. Ugh.

Again, thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of this tragedy. What an awful day. – Matt

Update (1:09 PM): The latest on Salei is that the list of the dead does not include him yet, though authorities are still looking for six bodies in the wreckage, having recovered 36. (The most up to date number of passengers is 44.)

So there’s still some hope that Salei wasn’t there, but that no one’s apparently heard from him yet is not a promising sign. – Matt

Update (11:39 AM): Aftonbladet’s main headline confirms Stefan Liv was among the victims. – Matt

Update (11:18 AM): Wyshsynski relays from Russia Today that Brad McCrimmon is confirmed among the dead. Expected, but no less horrible news. Thoughts and prayers to Brad’s family, as well as those of the other victims.

This Belarussian news outlet says Salei was on the passenger manifest, though not officially among the list of victims yet. That’s not much room for hope, though. – Matt

Update (10:51 AM): A writer for Russia’s Sport-Express now says Belarussian news agencies are reporting Salei was on the plane. Horrible. If you remember, he and his wife just had a baby. This is an awful day. – Matt

Update (10:26 AM): Well, possible good news: Ruslan Salei may not have been on the plane. This guy’s saying it’s for sure, but the story he links to says “unconfirmed” when translated by Google. Here’s hoping it’s true, though.

Meanwhile, the count is up to 42 passengers and two reported survivors (one player, one crew member). – Matt

Update (9:54 AM): Confirmation I’ve been dreading:

Lokomotiv official tells Sovetsky Sport “everyone from the main roster was on the plane + 4 players from the youth team.”

– Matt

Horrible news out of Russia this morning as a plane carrying the KHL’s Locomotiv team crashed with 37 on board. Reports say 36 are confirmed dead, with one (crew member) survivor in critical condition. Note that Brad McCrimmon was the team’s head coach, and the roster included Ruslan Salei. Still some measure of murkiness around the incident, but it’s likely both men were on the plane. Former Red Wings goaltending prospect Stefan Liv was also on the team.

Puck Daddy may be your best English-language source for news on this (apart from Twitter), as their Dmitry Chesnokov (@dchesnokov) is passing along updates. Better yet, just go to his Twitter profile page and keep hitting the refresh bar that shows up.

Thoughts and prayers to the families of the passengers as the hockey world absorbs another blow. What a horrible summer.

Hudler’s Season’s Over, So It’s Time for an Update

Update (3:05 PM): Er, pulled a little more of the Freep piece than I meant to. Fixed. – Matt

I guess Hudler’s team losing out of the KHL playoffs gives the media an excuse to talk about him again. Nothing terribly new here, but I like the hilarious reminder of how blissfully unaware of the business side of hockey Jiri is:

“His agent tells me he has a two-year contract, but it includes an option to get out after the first year,” Holland said Monday. “I asked Jiri about it a month ago, and he said he doesn’t know if he has that out clause or not….

Report: USA Hockey source of hold up on Hudler’s transfer card

Update (6:13 PM): More on this via a Twitter exchange I had with Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy:

dchesnokov Hudler scored a GWG in Dynamo’s win over a bitter rival Spartak.

onthewings @dchesnokov How’s that work, if the reports on his transfer card are true?

dchesnokov @onthewings KHL president Medvedev said he didn’t care about what the IIHF do.

onthewings @dchesnokov I’d seen that. I didn’t know how much of it was bluffing.

dchesnokov @onthewings The Czech hockey federation issued a transfer card. KHL don’t care about IIHF transfer cards anymore.

dchesnokov @onthewings IIHF = joke. They depend too much on the money from the Russians. If the KHL leaves the IIHF, the organization will die.

onthewings @dchesnokov Hope you’re right–the Wings need the KHL to override the IIHF or they’re screwed.

dchesnokov @onthewings KHL hinted a number of times they were growing tired of the IIHF. As I have always said, it is between NHL and KHL. IIHF = joke

If Dmitry’s right and the KHL’s just going to ignore the IIHF rules, it’s good for the Wings in this specific situation because it would mean retention of the status quo as determined in the days around Hudler’s arbitration. The precedent, however, wouldn’t be a good one to set. The weakening of a reasonable (relative to the KHL) international body would hurt the NHL’s pipeline to Europe.

Really, the best resolution from the perspective of the IIHF would be for USA Hockey to just sign the card, but that creates problems for the NHL as the KHL would come off the victor in this little turf battle. – Matt

In the first mainstream media non-blog (Cult of Hockey is technically MSM, but a blog) comment on the latest chapter of the Hudler Saga, Canwest News Service’s Erin Valois reports that the IIHF has partially confirmed the news regarding Hudler and his transfer card. I say partially because it’s not the IIHF that is denying him the card; it’s apparently USA Hockey, the federation that had jurisdiction over Hudler while he was in the NHL and one of two needing to give permission for him to play overseas (the other being the Russian one).

Citing an email to Peter Adler that David Staples must have used as a source Wednesday, Valois quotes the communications director of the IIHF, Szymon Szemberg, who claims USA Hockey has not signed the card, therefore leaving Hudler ineligible to play in the KHL (assuming the KHL plays by the rules). Szemberg speculates the NHL asked USA Hockey not to sign and it’s all but certain he’s right.

I guess it’s still possible that the federation could still sign the card and make this go away, but it’s not looking likely if they haven’t already. I can understand the League asking USA Hockey not to sign. They wanted to protect an NHL asset from the predatory KHL. I get it, and even would have appreciated it if it could have been done in a timely manner.

What I don’t get is why this is only coming out now. Couldn’t the federation have made its decision clear a few weeks ago, before the Wings went out and put themselves against the cap in order to make up for what everybody assumed was the already-decided loss of Jiri Hudler? If the KHL ends up saying, “Just kidding” on its apparent threat to have Hudler play anyway, the Wings are royally screwed by the cap.

This is crap. Hudler forced back before his apparent “victory” in escaping the NHL around the time of his arbitration would have been bad enough. The Wings would have at least had the cap space to keep his malcontent self on board. Now, however, they have no such space and no easy way to clear it up. If he’s forced to return to North America, I hope he’ll be able to find happiness playing for another team, because chances are the Wings will be shopping him, even if they have to take a crappy deal from some laughing GM.

Cult of Hockey: IIHF Screws Wings, Hudler

Update (27. Aug 09, 3:25 PM): A guy by the name of Ruslan Salikhov claims on Twitter that KHL president Alexander Medvedev said his league will ignore the IIHF and let Hudler play regardless. Salikhov also has what he calls a quote from KHL officials: “IIHF did not give transfer card to Hudler. Their explanation was Hudler has a contract with Detroit, which is laughable” (via Christy Hammond).

None of this has been confirmed by a reputable source yet, so take both the initial news and this bit from Medvedev with  grain of salt. – Matt

David Staples of the Edmonton Journal blog Cult of Hockey relays horrible news from his “Edmonton-based Euro hockey expert” Peter Adler (who in turn gets it from Sovietsky Sport): the IIHF isn’t granting Hudler his transfer card, which means he can’t practice or play with Moscow Dynamo, or for any other team in any “IIHF-sanctioned game.”

I haven’t seen this confirmed by anyone else yet, so take it with a grain of salt. But I’m guessing Sovietsky Sport wouldn’t outright fabricate something that represents such a blow to the KHL as this. It may be that the IIHF is just dragging its feet. Let’s hope so.

Without that card, Hudler would effectively be banned from any league covered by the IIHF. If the report is true, Hudler’s only real option would be to return to North America, which is outside IIHF jurisdiction (or at least able to ignore it).

The problem with that, obviously, is Hudler is currently property of the Detroit Red Wings and to play in North America, he would have to pick up the two-year, $5.75 million deal with the Wings he was awarded in arbitration. And the Wings neither have that kind of cap space nor could they easily get it now that they have signed Jason Williams and Todd Bertuzzi.

So, if Hudler is forced to return, what do the Wings do? Who knows. I can tell you I have a hard time seeing them trade or waive a veteran such as Tomas Holmstrom in order to help make room for Jiri. What seems more likely to me is they’d try to shop Hudler, even though he’s an important offensive asset. If that’s the route they go, though, good luck. NHL GMs won’t be in a rush to help Holland out.

Kyle’s got some speculation of his own here.

Assuming for a minute that the Sovietsky Sport story as relayed by Adler is true, a question for the IIHF: why the heck did you wait so long? The NHL wanted this weeks ago.

Last Word On Hudler (For Now)

We now know how much Hudler will be worth should he decide to return to to the NHL after one or two years in Russia: $2.75 million in his first year back, and $3 million in his second. Assuming the KHL doesn’t take a toll on his production potential, those are pretty reasonable numbers for the Wings to face down the road. If he proceeds to light it up in the KHL, they’ll look even better.

The Wings and Hudler’s agent reportedly reached the  deal just before the arbitration hearing last week, but went through with the process anyway. Apparently, Hudler was concerned the KHL might not look favorably on him negotiating a deal with the Wings when their stance has been he was available for poaching as an unsigned RFA. So, having received a deal from the arbitrator, his on-hold contract in the NHL should be kosher to a league that’ll do what it wants regardless.

That should mark the end of the high-concentration coverage of the Hudler saga for at least the next 10-11 months. I do, though, hope to see some updates on his KHL stint from the media so we can get a better understanding of how he’s doing over there than is possible to glean from checking his stats.

I’m very interested in keeping track of him over the coming seasaon, because my working theory on Hudler is that he won’t be able to replicate his production in a system other than Detroit’s.

He was able to rack up points on small ice time with the Wings because everyone on the team is able to play some variation on the puck possession style, even his usually bottom-end linemates. On a less skilled team, he’ll be forced to dig the puck out of the boards more, and that’s where his size will put him at a real disadvantage. He has enough slick puck ability to make up some of the difference, but that’s where you hit the other side of Jiri Hudler: his apparent trouble handling greater responsibility.

Without doing the research and running the numbers, to my memory, Hudler seemed to have trouble when he got rewarded for low-TOI production with extra ice time. He thrives in limited doses, but has yet to rise to a true top six-minutes guy with the Wings.

There’s also the fact that he won’t be facing other teams’ third or fourth liners with the same regularity as he did in Detroit. The KHL’s top end skill my not match the NHLs’ but that will be a new challenge to Hudler to meet, assuming he gets top line slotting over there.

It’s possible that in the KHL (on the bigger surface, where he can more easily put his skill to use) he’ll answer the bell, but I have a hard time seeing him succeed in an environment other than that provided by the Wings. He’s a strong fit here, with a team of players that can create space and get him the puck off the wall. Elsewhere? I’m not convinced. All of this would apply, in my mind, if he were going to another NHL team, by the way.

All that said, I wish him the best of luck, and hope he can find thee leadership role he’s seeking. I hope I’m wrong.

Not at all disconcerting, right?

“I’ve already said and I repeat — until it is a top league, even though it is progressing, I will play overseas.”

That’s Pavel Datsyuk speaking to a Russian news outlet (so overseas=North America) on the possibility of him “pulling an Alexander Radulov” and bolting to the Kontinental Hockey League while still under contract in the NHL.

At first glance, that quote is reassuring. However, the “until” part seems to leave things somewhat ope-ended, as Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski noted today. Of course, the chances of the KHL ever being something more than merely a destination attractive only to mid-level and aging stars are slim, as Greg points out. Top-tier stars like Pavel Datsyuk are far less likely to take off.

Still, possessive Red Wings fan that I am, it’s mildly disturbing that Pavel would suggest he’d entertain the idea. Perhaps something was lost in the translation.

(via Snapshots)