For most of us, the primary (or even only) question regarding Alexander Radulov’s return is how it affects the competitive balance of the NHL. Does it make the Nashville Predators a Stanley Cup contender? Are the Detroit Red Wings/whoever faces them in the first round really in trouble?
Yet there’s a question that’s often getting overlooked in all this: what happens to the KHL?
Certainly the K.H.L. has put Russian domestic hockey on firmer ground than it has been in quite a long time. The league is slicker and more fan-friendly than any of its predecessors in Russian or Soviet domestic hockey. The rinks are bigger and newer. It has ended the mass exodus of young Russian prospects to the N.H.L.; no longer can an N.H.L. club hope to get an Evgeni Malkin or an Alex Ovechkin for a mere $200,000.
But the K.H.L.’s bigger dreams of four years ago have gone the way of Russia’s bigger dreams, tempered now by economic realities. Gone are the days when a veteran star like Jagr, or a young star like Radulov, would go to Russia and not look back.
Obviously those dreams need to be reined in a bit, but if the KHL can learn some lessons and maintain patience, they might be onto something as the second biggest professional hockey league in the world. The 2011-12 season certainly provided some harsh lessons, though.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger