Skip to main content

Endorsements

Got any good books to recommend?

Greatest Hits from Working the Net:

Harlow Salon - one of the very best hair salons in Nashville TN.

Cold War II

It looks like a new Cold War is getting ready to escalate, based on a couple stories featured this morning over at Kukla's Korner. First, we have Alexander Radulov sounding off in the Russian press against the supposed looting of his country by the insidious forces of the NHL:

Insisting he's broken no rules, Radulov has already played three exhibition games with his new club. The rising star painted himself as a patriot returning home, signalling a return to prominence for Russian hockey in a question-and-answer session this week with Russian reporters.

"The NHL for 15 years has brought young players from Europe, first and foremost from Russia," according to a translation in Russianprospects.com. "I think that it is time to end this. Simply put: (It's) time to stop robbing us."
Hmm... it looks like somebody has really drunk the Kool-Aid when it comes to Russian patriotism. Of course, a new multi-million dollar contract combined with a complete tax exemption will do a lot to bolster one's love of country. Did I miss a story somewhere in which David Poile and Barry Trotz snuck into Radulov's quaint peasant village back in Russia and carried him off in a burlap sack to toil away in a Nashville gulag? I don't think so. Radulov came over to North America to pursue his own dream of playing hockey at the highest level possible, and now he's heading back for a combination of lucre and supposedly patriotic celebrity.

Then there's this:
"I completely agree with the position of my new club: During the signing of the contract there was no agreement between the NHL and the KHL," said Radulov. "If we didn't violate any rules, what is there to punish for?"
If Radulov actually believes he didn't violate any rules, then he's much more gullible than we ever could have guessed. He simply walked out on his contract with the Predators, and now the matter is just how easily he can get away with it. The likely scenario has him being banned from international competition for a while, but that's a small price to pay for the wealth and celebrity he's enjoying back home.

In the broad scheme of things the Radulov affair is a mere set piece to the larger conflict starting to arise between the upstart KHL and the NHL. In this morning's NY Post (also found via Kukla), KHL leader Alexander Medvedev taunts Gary Bettman over the player transfer issue, and flat-out dares him to try asserting the NHL's rights over Radulov in a Russian court. After all the bluster between the two leaders, however, this bomb is dropped in at the end of the article:

The Post has learned that Medvedev also informed Bettman that the KHL would hold a universal draft for the 2009-10 season that will include players currently under contract in the NHL. Medvedev told Bettman KHL clubs will offer signing bonuses of $1M to players who are playing in the NHL this season.
Contracts be damned, Medvedev is saying, may the deepest pockets win.

Red Dawn
Save us Patrick Swayze, you're our only hope

On one level, it's interesting to see free market instincts taking such a firm hold in the former stronghold of Communism. On the other hand, free market economics only works well when contracts are reliably enforced, and the KHL is openly mocking that concept. The best magazine in the world recently had a special report on the international sports business, but one aspect they left out was this issue of contract law and how it plays out between rival leagues in separate countries. In soccer, they've dealt with this issue for a long time, so transfer fees are a relatively common practice. For hockey, this is new ground, and the IIHF, while making all the right noises, has no real power over clubs either in North America or Europe.

At this point it's hard to see how this conflict will be resolved, but one thing is sure. In light of sky-high oil prices (which are bolstering the Russian economy) and the declining American dollar, the KHL should have the financial clout to become a major thorn in the NHL's side for many years to come.

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Hooray for PythagenPuck

Back in November, around the quarter-mark of the NHL regular season, I wrote a piece looking at Expected Winning Percentages for each team, based on their Goals For/Goals Against ratio, using the PythagenPuck method as outlined in Alan Ryder's "Win Probabilities" article over at Hockey Analytics. Since we're approaching the end of the campaign, I thought it worth revisiting the two assertions I made back in November - that the Ottawa Senators were capable of getting back into the playoff race, and that the Boston Bruins were in danger of a freefall to the bottom of the standings.

Just to review, the basic idea behind win probability models like PythagenPuck is that over the course of a season, the Goals For and Goals Against numbers can be used to derive a team's winning percentage, within a a surprisingly narrow margin of error. For instance, if you only had GF/GA information, you could make a very good stab at projecting what the standings would look like. The w…

Where are my tickets, Mr. Holland?

While working on a piece about the 10th anniversary of the great Colorado/Detroit game at Joe Louis Arena, I caught myself reflecting on some of the great games I've had the fortune of seeing in Detroit during the 1990's, through a variety of means. Then another thing came to mind - when I'm in attendance, the Red Wings win. I'm on a huge personal winning streak here, so perhaps the Red Wings front office would want to bolster their chances during the upcoming playoffs and make sure I'm in the house for those critical games? I can make myself available...

June 4, 1995: Detroit takes Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals from Chicago, 3-2 (although the Hawks put one of the goalpost as the final horn sounds). Wow, has it been that long since the Blackhawks achieved anything? Ticket courtesy of a college buddy who had a spare.

October 13, 1995: The Wings pummel the Edmonton Oilers in their home opener, 9-0. After the painful Finals sweep against New Jersey the…