Hypocrisy at its Finest?
Wednesday July 23rd 2008, 9:14 pm

To protest Alexander Radulov’s defection to the KHL, ESPN’s Scott Burnside is calling on the NHL to pull out of the upcoming Victoria Cup, set to be played between the Rangers and European champions Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Bern on October 1st. “If we were Gary Bettman and/or NHL Players’ Association executive director Paul Kelly, we would be on the red phone to Moscow and make it very clear that unless Alexander Radulov is back in a Nashville Predators jersey by the end of next week, the Russians and the IIHF can kiss the Victoria Cup goodbye” Burnside writes. He concludes his rant with this gem: “The Predators can’t afford to lose a talented young player whom they drafted in the first round.

So let me get this straight: Metallurg could afford to lose their leading scorer and future star Evgeni Malkin two years ago. Dynamo Moscow could afford to lose budding superstar Alexander Ovechkin the year before that. The teams who saw Ilya Zubov, Alexander Nikulin, Artem Anisimov, Nikolai Lemtyugov and Pavel Valentenko all leave for North America last summer, only to spend the majority of their seasons in the AHL, felt no hardship when the players they’d spent the previous 5+ years developing jumped ship. And CSKA Moscow should merrily wave farewell to Nikita Filatov when he boards a plane for Columbus later this summer. But Nashville can’t afford to lose a first round draft pick. Hmm.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not condoning Radulov’s actions. He signed a contract and he should honor it. But the righteous indignation over the KHL’s “poaching” of NHL players that’s suddenly flowing forth from North American quarters reeks of hypocrisy when you think about the number of European players who’ve been “recruited” to play in the NHL over the years.

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Filed under: KHL

2 Comments so far
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    the players that leave the RSL that have valid contracts should be ashamed of themselves, but you can’t point to those players that, under the then current Russian Labour Law, opted out of their contracts and decided to go to the NHL and say that they are in the same catagory as Radulov. Malkin is the perfect example as to why your comment and point is flawed. He provided his team with the customary 2 week notice and then left, what you should have really been focusing on was the gestapo tactics of the team going to his room at 3am to get him to sign a contract, or the fact that they tried to keep him hostage as well as the rest of the team by not giving him his passport and only doing so when traveling to Finland for an under 20 Tourney which is when he had his first opportunity to leave the country. Pleas ebe a bit more careful when lumping in all of the Russians in what what Radulov did because it doesn’t help your point.

    Comment by pld459666 07.27.08 @ 1:14 pm

    Thanks for your comments pld459666. It’s convenient for us here in North America to point and say “well, he followed the letter of the law when he broke his contract, so it’s ok”, but that doesn’t lessen the impact the player leaving had on his team, which was my point. It’s not as if, had there been a legal loophole for Radulov to use to escape his NHL contract, it would have changed Burnside’s premise that Nashville can’t afford to lose him.

    As for how Malkin was or wasn’t treated before he left for the NHL, I’ve had the benefit of reading both sides of the story, and believe, as is usually the case, that the truth of what really happened lies somewhere in between the “gestapo” accusations of the North American media and the assurances that everything followed standard operating procedure that were put forth by the Russian media. Regardless, I see little point in rehashing events that were discussed ad nauseam two years ago, which is why they weren’t the focus of my post.

    Comment by laurie 07.27.08 @ 4:17 pm

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