NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was previously told that the KHL “will honor its agreement with us,” but it looks like the Russian league still intends to defend any NHL players that don’t want to return to North America.
“Our league will act according to our own and international rules,” Medvedev said. “If players decide to stay, we will help them.”
He also doesn’t think that any players that argue against their NHL deals should be afraid of possible IIHF sanctions.
Needless to say, this could be a serious problem for some teams.
New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has already stated that he plans to spend the rest of the season with Bratislava Slovan. Meanwhile, Ilya Kovalchuk is still playing for St. Petersburg SKA and won’t commit to returning to the New Jersey Devils.
“Time will tell (if I stay in the KHL),” Kovalchuk said. “Nothing is out of the question.”
For now, the NHL doesn’t want to respond to Medvedev’s comments.
“We will see what happens,” Daly said, according to the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.