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August 11, 2009


Theo was one of the most amazing players I've ever seen. I saw him play when I was in L.A. and it was amazing to be in a crowd that he wanted to taunt. He drove them all crazy. Almost as if Avery becomes a 50 goal player.

Sad that some ppl just can't deal with life sometimes. While I wish him the best, I can't imagine that he has anything left after the way he played and the way he "played".

Honestly, your articles make me laugh much more than I think you intend them.

Xenophobic much, are you? Because obviously no European players are hard-nosed (not Ovechkin, not the Rutuus, not Chara, etc. etc.) and all North American players are tough.

Your crack research is showing up again-- because you seem to be under the misconception that the KHL spans all of Europe when it is exclusively in the Russian block. So why would a Swede or a Czech find playing in Russia has the "natural allure of playing at home"? The vast majority of people leaving for the KHL are either well past their prime or marginal NHL players. Apparently you think that 3 talented players in their prime amount to many players.

I wouldn't call it "Xenophobic." I think that there is a definite difference in style between the European and North American influence. Ovechkin is indeed tough, as was Peter Forsberg, Zdeno Chara, etc. However, if you look at the way the international game is played, particularly with the larger ice surface, there is much more fluidity and offensive-minded systems which put the emphasis on offense, not physical play. I also never stated that the KHL spans all of Europe. I recognize that the KHL is Russian-based ,however many European players find the location and culture closer to home than making the trip to North America. Considering that many European hockey players are from central and eastern Europe, the ability to play nearer to home presents a threat to the NHL. As far as the talent in the KHL, this is a growing trend that will breed more homegrown talent wanting to play for their favorite European club. Hope this clarifies. Thanks for reading!


I agree with you in general that the games on the international sized ice are in general are more fluid and less physical. However, it is a jump to go from that to assuming it stems from a cultural difference rather than a consequence of the ice size. If the NHL played on an international sized rink, don't you think it would reduce the physical nature of the game? Perhaps xenophobic was a bit of an exaggeration but you are still painting with a very broad brush.

I think you are still assuming way too much in you KHL opinions. While it is literally true that the KHL is "closer to home" for European players there no reason to assume because of that they will prefer to play there. Again, the KHL seems to be where players go when they aren't good enough for the NHL anymore, can't crack the lineup, or feel they aren't being given enough money or playing time. And notice I say "players" and not "European players" because there are North Americans that go over there as well when any of the above criteria are met.

Why do you feel this great threat from the KHL and not from the SEL or the Finnish Elite League or the Extraliga? If the KHL is such a huge draw, why is Grachev playing in the OHL and Anisimov in the AHL for a pittance compared to what they could make in the KHL?

I think my main question is what great players that should be playing in the NHL are playing for more money in the KHL? You still seem to think there are many European players being lured away and I still don't see it.

We have an Olympic sized ice surface, here in Belleville, home of the OHL's Belleville Bulls and I can assure you the Bulls are not a "soft" team or escew hitting, even Marty McSorley played here. In general, Euro players are less physical than North American players, and those who play it tough and intense increase their odds of playing in the NHL. There have been numerous Russian players who never realized their potential in the NHL and Zherdev is one of them. Good riddance I say, he was and will continue to be a very selfish player, which is secondary to his being Russian, and the principle reason why he will never be great.

the physical part of the game is slowly being weeded out. I could care less what country someone is from but it is a common trend for Eastern Europeans to shy away from contact.

Ovechkin is a great example of how Russian players should model themselves. Ovechkin plays hard 100% of the time and plays with an edge. How many other Russians play like that???

"It is reminiscent of the Cold War days when Russian players were not allowed to leave Russia to play in the NHL. One famous case being goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, who despite being a national icon was not issued a release to go play in the NHL."

Hi I really respect your blog and what you have to say. But the above statement is reminiscent of uninformed nonsense. The two cases have absolutely nothing to do with each other. What is happening is that NHL is no longer the world's only super league. And the political regime of Russia has no resemblance whatsoever to the country you're making the comparison. The players are being lured by, and not through political means.

A. money - whats wrong with that? capitalism?
B. Playing at home - imagine living in a country where you weren't born in.. culture you are not used to. it is much easier to understand that concept if you went through a similar situation (aka immigration)
C. Anisimov/Grachev not playing in KHL means nothing in relationship to the argument as it is obvious some players will still want to play in NHL as its the top league in the world. But it is much easier for russians to make it in the KHL than NHL.


the KHL is not a comparable league to the NHL. Even Ovechkin has said that. The KHL is great for players like Zherdev, Radulov, Afinigenov, Federov, Zubov whom, at the present time, are above average players in the NHL but would be star players in their home country KHL.

whether its comparable or not, it is plain ignorant and classless to imply that KHL has anything to do with the "cold war years" or going back to them. (ps i'm a die hard ranger fan - who happens to be born in Russia and this topic is very dear to me)

more so if it was like in "cold war years" the Russians were destroying on international level. 2nd of all Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk ... etc. every single Russian top star played in "KHL" at some point... so it couldnt have been that band

It is a loss to see a young player leave the NHL but in all fairness he wasn't treated like any of the other Rangers when they made errors (Redden 11 SHG @ $6.5 million per). As for the award why not if Nik Antropov is worth 4.0 mil at 28 why not Zherdev at 3.9 mil. Bobby Holik was making 9.8 mil for a defensive forward. Vanek (although a tougher player) was awarded a 7 mil contract his sophmore year add to that mix Dustin (Oiler Bust)Penner. Drury, Briere and Gomez over 7 mil per year. Yet everyone picks on the young kid. He led the Rangers in points and plus minus all year and won key shootouts in Florida. He didn't show in the playoffs but neither did the other 35 million in payroll.

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