Monday, June 16, 2008

See you later, some NHL players

Well, the transfer agreement between the NHL and the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) has not been re-signed, and it makes me worry. Hockey is starting to gain ground in the USA, (thanks for being good, Detroit and Pittsburgh) and now there's nothing in place stopping the IIHF, including the Russan "super-league" from grabbing players from the NHL. Granted, not a lot of fans are exactly crying over Chris Simon leaving for Russia, but where he has gone other players will follow, especially if a player thinks they can make more money in Euros than they do in Dollars, and live at home rather than in this strange country that I - and 24 teams in the NHL - call home. I see young players coming to the NHL if given the opportunity, but people taking the route of Sami Kapinen and retiring to play in a European league of one kind or another.

I don't think we'll be seeing Sydney Crosby playing for the Gagarin Cup*, but depending on how his career goes I could see Pavol Demitra or Marion Gaborik leaving for somewhere in Slovak Extraliga if the money's right.

In 30 years, if the NHL and CHL play their cards wrong and right, respectively, I could certainly see the Stanley Cup and Gagarin Cup winners squaring off somewhere they both want to boost hockey fandom. Israel?

*Best-named trophy, to date. Disagree?

IIHF - NHL transfer deal expires.