As Bryan reported in the previous post on the blog, the NHL labor negotiations do not seem to be headed in a good direction. My students have gone from posting comments on our class site for governance from: “will the negotiations get done?” to: “If a puck drops at center ice, and no one is in the stadium, does it make a sound?”. Clearly there is some cynicism from the fans as we have already been under two work stoppages in the Gary Bettman era of the NHL. The second one hurt the league, forced them onto an obscure Cable TV network, but supposedly solved a lot of the revenue issues that existed, right? Wrong, the revenue issue seems to be getting more problematic and is the core issue that is sending these negotiations down the tube.
Many are already talking about the NHL lockout, and one league with high interest is the Russian professional KHL. Being one of the highest quality leagues in Europe, it is a naturally attractive location for players to go and make some money while the lockout continues. The big question already seems to be who has first dibs on Russian star Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin is in the headlines as Dynamo head Mr. Rotenberg said that he doesn’t want Ovechkin on his team, and will not go after him if there is a lockout. Okay, no big deal. Except it is a very big deal, so big that the KHL President came out and said that Dynamo should have the first rights to Ovechkin, as they have the “moral right” to him. That’s right, the teams owner says he doesn’t want Ovechkin, but the head of the entire league says that he should be on the team. It is a confusing situation, and it looks like there is even more arguing and fighting going on between the teams and the league over who gets Ovechkin.
Some say Dynamo has the birthright to Ovechkin, who would technically be a free agent when coming to the league. Others say that it should be open season. In either case, at least Ovechkin knows that if there is a lockout, he will still have many courting his services.