NHLers like Thomas Vanek (R)have made the KHL a stronger league for the time being. (REUTERS)
Unlike the NHL, the KHL is a hockey-first setup, according to at least one voice from what’s considered to be the second best league in the world.
Earlier this week, Alexander Medvedev, the president of the KHL, commented on the NHL’s labour woes and more or less trashed both sides for their handling of the league’s second work stoppage in less than a decade.
Calling both parties “egotistical” as the NHL passed Day 100 of the lockout, the KHL’s equivalent to Gary Bettman offered up his analysis of the ongoing negotiations.
“Financial issues trump the development of the game for them,” Medvedev told the official website of Barys Astana, the only Kazakh club in the KHL. “At the same time, this will all hit their pockets anyway.”
The KHL has already benefited from labour concerns in the world’s top league, snatching up talent and bringing attention to what used to be seen as a second-rate league around the world.
Now, top talent such as Nail Yakupov, Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Evgeni Malkin are just a few of the close to 40 NHL names skating in the KHL.
“We’re not that kind of league,” Medvedev said in commenting on the financial bickering between the NHL and its players. “While we might have arguments with the players unions, we always think about the hockey first of all, and about everything else later.”
While the general consensus is that NHL players will return from European leagues when the lockout is resolved, multiple KHL clubs have mentioned interest in keeping a number of NHLers post-lockout.