Sometimes playing the rumor game in the NHL can get interesting when parties attached to the situation are on different continents. Making things a bit less interesting is that the rumors this time have to deal with bureaucratic dealings and contracts between the NHL and KHL. Earlier today, USA Today’s Kevin Allen tweeted that the NHL and KHL had reached an agreement to respect each others contracts with players.
As it is, the NHL and KHL don’t have a transfer agreement worked out with each other, so bridging this gap would be a step in the right direction to provide detente between the competing leagues. As stories like this tend to go, not all is as it initially appeared. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cleared things up saying that it is business as usual between the two leagues and there was nothing to announce.
“There’s no agreement,” Bettman told The Canadian Press in an interview. “(Deputy commissioner) Bill Daly confirmed in writing what our practice has been — namely, we respect their contracts and we expect them to respect ours.
“There’s no transfer agreement so we don’t have the same relationship with the KHL that we have with the Swedes or the Finns or the Czechs.”
While the NHL and KHL don’t have the same sort of working agreement together, it’s not at the “Cold War” level of problems the way it once seemed to be. After all, with the Carolina Hurricanes playing against SKA St. Petersburg in an exhibition game today, there’s signs that things are improving. They’re not improved enough to get Gary Bettman and KHL president Alexander Medvedev at the negotiation table, but any improvement is better than what we’ve seen in recent years between the two sides.
Sure the NHL is ticked about losing handfuls of players to the Russian league, but with how the job market in the NHL has been this year, you can understand why the KHL comes as a helpful option for some players that want to remain in professional hockey. If you’re thinking the KHL has a strong position against the NHL, think again. The money in the NHL is better and every team has stability behind it. The same can’t be said of all the teams in the KHL.
This summer looks like it could be one of changes for the Detroit Red Wings, even beyond the most obvious storyline of Pavel Datsyuk‘s future.
One area where the Red Wings would like to make some tweaks is in net, namely in trading Jimmy Howard. The Detroit Free-Press points out that GM Ken Holland admitted that moving the former franchise netminder “might be good for the organization.”
It’s reasonable to wonder what kind of market there will be for Howard, whose deal ($5.29 million cap hit through 2018-19) looks pretty tough to stomach on paper.
Maybe it’s best to consider the Red Wings’ options if Howard starts the 2016-17 season off on a strong note, or something of that nature. Perhaps an expansion draft could “solve” that problem if Detroit cannot find any takers?
The Red Wings remain forward-thinking and patient, which likely explains why the Free-Press focuses on their confidence with prospect Jared Coreau.
“In the big scheme of things, he’ll play in Grand Rapids for another year, but now we know he can play a lot of minutes if needed,” Goalie coach Jeff Salajko said. “Jimmy Howard played four years in the minors. We’re not rushing Jared, but he is going to be an NHL goalie, there is no doubt in my mind about that.”
In other words, a pairing of Petr Mrazek and Coreau wouldn’t just be a cost-effective duo … it might just be the Red Wings’ ideal scenario in the not-too-distant future.
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win