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A statement that can secure the KHL’s future?



A very interesting season we can look forward to already despite the fact that it has just begun, and it is too early to make any wider conclusion for each team’s destiny.

I had some doubts about Kovalchuck and how he’ll take on the actions this year, with valid and strong reasons.

Mostly because of his conduct of behaviour that forced him off the ice under then-coach Zubov.

>>> One can imagine that new coach Znarok is the kind of person that won’t allow any goofy manners because he has a team to run and that’s a huge responsibility, especially when the team is SKA St. Petersburg and the employer and owner of the team are Roman Rotenberg.

I can myself imagine that Znarok has been talking through one or two things with Rotenberg and Kovalchuck, how it’s going to be like this season, and yes, it’s pure speculation, but I like to believe that Znarok is strong enough to say “Take it or leave it, but I am the coach”.

At least we have detected already that there are some changes since the springtime, major or minor, but changes nonetheless.

Kovie the man started this season with a hat trick against Salavat Yulaev Ufa and has found his mate on the ice that he can lean on, the “youngster” himself, Mr. Pavel Datsyuk who has returned to European hockey and the KHL.

That’s a very promising start for Kovie and SKA, and we have reasons to expect that there is more to come.

>>> I can admit that I’ve been negative on Kovie but as I said: I had a very good reason to be.

With that said, I can only bow and applaud if it turns out that he’ll be one of the best in the league in 2016-17.

Enough rant about that and hereby I leave SKA, Kovie, and the games for a moment and talk instead about the league itself and its future because I came across a very important statement from the KHL president Chernyshenko himself.

First of all, we have all read thousands of articles of all sorts about the KHL ever since the very beginning.

A lot of hockey writers from everywhere –including myself- have doubted the KHL’s future and expected that they will fall like a house of cards.

The biggest gathered and the most common criticism in a very short version:

>>> Nobody in the league seems to be serious enough to run a league that is supposed to be at least the second-best in the world.

And, it didn’t help the cause that Putin and Russia invaded Crimea and started a more civil-war-like situation in Eastern Ukraine where many pro-Russians live.

That’s the saddest part of the KHL, that they are so connected with politics, and being punished because of that.

However, I can also sense a bright future as well. We have experienced the expansion to China, which is a good thing I think, for the KHL and for the Chinese hockey.

But, there is one thing that I and probably more have been waiting for, and here comes the very statement that might secure the KHL as league in the future and their status:


(Image courtesy: @Vorkywh24 on Twitter)

Take the last lines and think about it what it means.

Maybe if there is serious interest from strong, established clubs, which radically improve our product, we can consider a system of rotation where weaker clubs are replaced by stronger one.

Well, I can’t interpret for you, my dear reader, but for me, it means that they are after all very serious about the league and that they have somehow realized  that they must replace some teams that are not so strong or don’t attract so many people, or will never have a chance to win.

To the last: you may take it as you wish, but I find this also to be a very vital declaration from the president Chernyshenko that there is a future for the league and there is no more space for any odd actions from anyone involved in the league.

Let’s see if this is true in the long run, at least I hope that it is.

Go on, then, and let your intent be seriousness.

-Donald Cargill

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Arto Palovaara, Sunday Chronicler for Sports Rants Europe. Previously, he contributed for the betting company Betsafe, Svenska fans, Get real hockey and Ice nation UK. He is also an educated archaeologist and life coach who loves literature and history. Not to forget: probably he is the only sportswriter that plays the banjo.