I spent 20 years trying to get out of this placeThere is that rainbow beaming with a big pot of gold waiting in Russia again. Who will be the next NHL'er to go East?
I was looking for something I couldn't replace
I was running away from the only thing I've ever known
Like a blind dog without a bone
I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone
I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold
I been there, done that and I ain't lookin' back on the seeds I've sown,
Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone
Who says you can't go home — John Bon Jovi
No sooner did we put up a post on the rising of the KHL hockey league, with their signing of Jaromir Jagr, then we have another story today of a NHL player defecting to the Eastern front. This time the defector, Alexander Radulov, who was still under contract to the Nashville Predators for the coming 2008-09 season, decided to exit stage East for more money. Can a Russian defect back to Russia or is he just going home? Was he a hockey gypsy lost in the NHL twilight zone or just a blind dog without a bone?
The lure of $13 million US tax-free over three years sent Radulov packing to play for team Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL. Nashville was only going to pay him $918,587 this coming season. Team Salavat Yulaev plays in Ufa, which has a population of 1,042,432 (2002) and is the 11th largest city in Russia. The team is named after Salavat Yulaev, a national hero of Bashkiria, in case you were wondering.
Note the tax-free angle again that came attached to the Russian offer. The NHL is going to find itself at a serious competitive advantage for talent if Russian petro-rubles and state sponsorship keep getting pumped into this new KHL. Who thinks that the young, 19 year-old future star Alexei Cherepanov, who will be playing with Jagr next season, will want to come West and play for the Rangers at a discount to his value in Russia?
However, not so fast Mr. Alexander "spit on your stinking contract" Radulov. The NHL and KHL supposedly reached an "anti-poaching" agreement yesterday (Thur, July 10th). So you might have to slave away in the Nashville Gulag Archipelago for another year at starvation wages before going home.
The NHL website had this article about the NHL - KHL détente. Gorby and Ronnie would be proud.
NHL, Russians make progress, but still no transfer agreement --
ZURICH, Switzerland - The NHL reached an agreement with a new Russian hockey league Thursday that temporarily ends the threat of players being lured away by big-money offers.
The pact to respect player contracts across all borders followed offers made last month by teams in Russia's Continental Hockey League - which begins play in September - to entice Evgeni Malkin out of the final year of his deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It was reached at a meeting of the NHL, the NHL Players' Association and international hockey leagues in Zurich, the home of the International Ice Hockey Federation.
"Everyone in the room agreed that for the foreseeable future everyone will respect everybody's contracts," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.
Players' union director Paul Kelly said all parties recognized the need for "clear respect between leagues."
The deal was brokered with Russian league founder Alexander Medvedev, who had given his teams a green light to approach players like Malkin...
---But, remember that one of Ronnie's favorite sayings when dealing with the Russian was: "trust, but verify."
CBC Sports had the Radulov story:
Predators' Radulov tests NHL, Russian pact -- Alexander Radulov has told a Russian media outlet he has signed a contract with club Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the Continental Hockey League, but his ability to leave the NHL's Nashville Predators may not be clearcut...So for now the KHL will be playing like the old AFL to the NHL's old NFL. And then Joe Willie from Beaver Falls, PA came along and signed with the Jets in 1965 for the princely sum of $400,000 and the rest is history.
Radulov is due to make just under $1 million US in 2008-09 with Nashville, but as a potential restricted free agent after that season figured to be in the running to fetch a much more lucrative offer with another productive campaign.
The timing of Radulov's declaration is curious, at best.
Ufa is one of a number clubs in the former Russian Super League that will join with teams in Belarus, Latvia and Kazakhstan to play in a reformed league, known as the KHL in Russia.
On Thursday, it was announced the NHL, KHL and International Ice Hockey Federation had reached an agreement that leagues would respect existing player contracts regardless of borders.
Fame is calling... and so are the Russians.
Anyway if we can't beat the Russians, maybe we should join them.
Does this KHL league have team jerseys for sale yet? Wonder what a Salavat Yulaev jersey goes for? Buying one would be a good inflation hedge against the falling US dollar.
Now if you want to be the next MSG sensation follow these instructions. First, you should buy a KHL team jersey, anything from the league would work, and wear it to every Rangers home game. A cossack coat would be another option. Also buy and wear a Russian Cossack fur cap. We'll have to skip the sabre, probably can't get that into the Garden.
Next, every time a Russian, preferable a Rangers' Russian, touches the puck on Garden ice go ahead and cheer in Russian. Now if a Rangers' Russian scores a goal jump up in your aisle and do a Russian kick dance, something like the following:
If the Russians aren't scoring then dance every chance you get. It will be a long season. You could also bring a bunch of your pals to MSG to perform. Do a group dance:
Dancin' Larry who?
Lastly, make sure to give yourself a name like the 'Cossack Kid' or the 'Section 322 Nutcrackers.' If you make it big you owe the Ranger Pundit a dinner at the restaurant of his choice.