This is the time of the year, at least for me, to sum up, the season of 2016-17. I know, the Stanley Cup is still ongoing, as we have reached the finals between Nashville and Pittsburgh.
I have followed myself this season a lot more of the NHL but that doesn’t make me an initiated expert at all.
However, I am glad that a few Canadian teams reached the playoffs this season and we were so close to having Ottawa in the finals.
Furthermore, I am also glad to have experienced such nice and spectacular play by the other Canadian teams such as Edmonton, Toronto, Montréal, and Winnipeg.
However, it doesn’t take away the fact that the heavy US dominance is still intact at the moment as we have two US teams at the absolute end of the season, as usual.
In the KHL, the most of the excitement didn’t occur at the top of the league, but it was a heck of a battle for the last playoff spots already after about 20 rounds between Vityaz, Slovan, and Jokerit most of all if we talk about the Western Conference.
In the East, Kunlun Red Star reached their first playoff in their first KHL campaign, which was a tremendous achievement. Jurzinov Jr got the team to play in trance beginning in November which won them their spot in the playoffs in the end.
But, in the end, it was about SKA St. Petersburg and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the two best teams on the European side. SKA St. Petersburg was though undoubtedly the best team of these two even if Mozyakin & Co. tried to make a game of the final series.
If we stay with the KHL here, there are some changes coming up in the nearest feature. The league will cut the number of teams down to 24 eventually.
Already Medveṧčak and Metallurg Novokuznetsk have left the league.
I hope that these changes will give more space to Jokerit, Slovan Bratislava, Dynamo Minsk, Barys Astana, Kunlun Red Star and Dinamo Riga to shine and not be drowned out by mediocre Russian teams.
Moreover, I also think that the KHL must and should think beyond “Russian and non-Russian” and aim for being a true Pan-Eurasian league. One or two more clubs outside Russia would be perfect.
Another good thing, the KHL has a different approach than before against teams that cannot hold up the results. I’d suggest strongly therefore that you read this: http://en.khl.ru/news/2017/05/25/347812.html
This is one of the most important statements from the league, which you also find in the link, about new clubs and the future of the league:
“There are several possible candidates, but I will not name them yet. We are conducting a comprehensive analysis of all the relevant information presented to us. But I will say that there are clubs from traditional hockey countries and others from countries where the game does not have deep roots. We are attracting keen interest from Asia. The KHL is an international League and it is important for international development, but we are confident the Russian clubs will remain in the majority.
I think few would argue that the weaker Russian clubs do not add to our entertainment value, and should be replaced with strong teams from other nations. With so many Russian clubs the top-class players are spread too thin, and the current policy of limiting foreign players means we cannot raise the quality by attracting more players from overseas. The League’s development is hindered by these circumstances. Also, we cannot rule out further separating the conferences, because this would make logistical sense in light of possible growth in the East.”
Well, the interpretation of this statement is free and I will leave it such way…
The sun is shining and the weather is much warmer finally and it is time to enjoy the summer. I am not so much for the silly season, I have never been, but I do look forward to exciting names turning up in the KHL circus as well as in the NHL when the next season starts.
Until then, my dear reader, enjoy each day and I will close this season with a suitable quote for all of us:
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.