Hockey Canada clears Nail Yakupov to play in KHL

29 Sep

Last week we reported a story about Nail Yakupov and his problems securing an international transfer card that would allow him to play in Russia for Neftekhimik of the KHL. The IIHF reacted quite angrily, and the next day the organization announced that all of the pending transfer cards have been approved. But this was not the case at all. Hockey Canada on behalf of Sarnia Sting, the club Yakupov was assigned to just before the lockout was announced, blocked Yakupov's transfer card.

[Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Collusion question goes to the heart of NHL lockout]

Yakupov himself Tweeted that he would play again for Neftekhimik soon. His father publically stated, "my son will not go to Sarnia. Even if he is (disqualified from the KHL), he will continue training in Nizhnekamsk."

Vladislav Tretiak of the Russian Hockey Federation and Bob Nicholson of Hockey Canada discussed the matter during the IIHF congress in Tokyo, Japan this week. A round of negotiations was also scheduled for Friday of this week. And now we have a resolution.

From Hockey Canada:

"Hockey Canada and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation have announced that the OHL has determined that Yakupov had no independent legal advice when, at the age of 17 years old, he signed his contract with Sarnia. His release goes into effect immediately."

The KHL issued the following statement on its website:

"Thanks to a constructive dialog and joined efforts of KHL president Alexander Medvedev, Russian Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretiak and Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson, an agreement has been reached regarding forward Nail Yakupov's play for Neftekhimik. Kontinental Hockey League points out the flexibility and the understanding of the Edmonton [Oilers] and the Sarnia [Sting] hockey clubs during the negotiation process. Nail Yakupov may resume playing for Neftekhimik on Monday, October 1 in a game against Dynamo Moscow."

Yakupov will face off against Alex Ovechkin and Dynamo Moscow on Monday. But this was an unpleasant situation for all involved. A number of years ago the Sting were reportedly involved in a legal battle with the Colorado Avalanche over where certain players may be assigned, even winning an injunction against the Avs, prompting Colorado to settle with the OHL club for $26,000. It is unclear from the KHL statement if any compensation has been paid to resolve this matter.

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Tags: federation, , Hockey Canada, , , , , , Russian Hockey Federation, Sarnia Sting, , Yakupov
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Nail Yakupov locked out of Russia by Hockey Canada?

26 Sep

In two games with Neftekhimik Nizhnekams of the KHL, Edmonton Oilers rookie Nail Yakupov had zero points and was a minus-1.

So maybe they won't miss him if Hockey Canada is able to keep the No. 1 overall pick in last summer's NHL Draft out of Russia during the lockout.

The KHL announced on Tuesday that Yakupov is "temporarily" unable to play for Neftekhimik because of an IIHF investigation into his transfer to the League.

The KHL's Director of Sports Event Management Dmitry Kurbatov told that Yakupov temporarily cannot play in Russia until the IIHF determines the legitimacy of his transfer:

"The IIHF initiated this whole process," Kurbatov said. "Currently the IIHF is determining the legitimacy of Yakupov's transfer to the KHL. His current status in the NHL, the AHL and the KHL is raising questions. While the investigation is ongoing, in accordance with the Regulations we cannot allow a player to play in our league. I hope this problem will be resolved in the coming days."

The move by Hockey Canada not to approve the ITC comes from Sarnia, it appears, as the Edmonton Oilers officially assigned Yakupov to play there. It is unclear whether this was done before or after Yakupov's agent Igor Larionov negotiated for the Oilers to allow Yakupov to play in the KHL.

(Buzzing The Net, Yahoo! Sports' Junior Hockey Blog, has more on the Sarnia angle.)

Yakupov has also been very vocal as far as where he wanted to play. This move by Hockey Canada may now trigger KHL's reaction that could affect a lot of young Russian players who want to play in Canada.

Almost every player drafted in the CHL from Russia has a contract with a Russian club. Players who are playing in the Russian Junior League — the MHL — actually have KHL contracts. That means that these players will need their clubs to agree to allow them to play in Canada.

[Related: Goal of the year candidate from the KHL]

The move today was done for the benefit of the CHL, not the player involved. Any move by the KHL and the Russian Hockey Federations to restrict the movement of juniors will be done for the benefit of the KHL.

That just means that players will suffer in the end.

Here is the IIHF statement on the matter:

Nail Yakupov has played two games for the KHL Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk without an approved International Transfer Card, ITC. The ITC was not signed by Hockey Canada and was thus not approved by the IIHF. Playing without an approved ITC following an international transfer request is a breach of IIHF transfer regulations.

At this time, being that Hockey Canada did not approve Nail Yakupov's ITC, his case is in appeal procedures. Until appeal procedures are complete and a decision regarding his transfer to Russia is made, an ITC will not be approved or denied by the IIHF.

In accordance with IIHF regulations the IIHF has sanctioned the Russian Ice Hockey Federation with a fine of 5.000 CHF and informed the RHF to withdraw the player from further competition in order not to risk stronger sanctions, including sanctions (suspension) of the player, pending the final decision of the IIHF's appeal procedure. In accordance with IIHF regulations, the Russian Ice Hockey Federations has seven days (1 October 2012) to respond to Hockey Canada's appeal.

I asked the IIHF for further clarifications:

Q. Is not signing the ITC the same as not approving it?

IIHF: According to IIHF regulations the member national association has seven days to sign or not approve an ITC. The same time is given to respond to an appeal. It's the same time that now RHF has to respond to Hockey Canada's appeal. "Signing" is the same as "approving".

Q. Has the IIHF taken any steps to contact Hockey Canada?

IIHF: IIHF has contacted Hockey Canada who has submitted all relevant information to the IIHF. The documentation is part of the ongoing appeal process.

Q. And what were the reasons given?

IIHF: The IIHF does not disclose any reasons during the appeal process. Hockey Canada may, if they wish to, give the reasons when approached.

To close this out, here's a recent quote from Yakupov himself:

"How could they assign me to Sarnia if I am already in Nizhnekamsk?! I said right away that I will not play in the AHL if there is a lockout, I want to play adult hockey!

"Even before the lockout I was invited to Neftekhimik. Of course I agreed right away: to play for the home club is my long time dream. So I didn't have any other options where to go.  I bought tickets and flew to Nizhnekamsk right away.  And I can't play in the OHL because of my age. I don't think the League would change their rules because of one person."

For now, he sits and waits to find out where he'll play.

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Why Alex Semin decided to play virtually for free in Russian minor league during NHL lockout

25 Sep

Alexander Semin has one of the most unfavorable reps in the NHL, whether he deserves it or not. Who can forget Marc Crawford and Pierre McGuire ranting about him and throwing strong words when talking about Semin this summer?

In the last few days, quite a few of his countrymen went to play in Russia while the negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA over a new CBA are ongoing. Semin was linked to a few clubs in the KHL, but decided to take a different route.

On Tuesday morning, the Russian Major Hockey League (a farm league for KHL clubs) announced that Alexander Semin agreed on a contract to play for Sokol, a team based in his home town.

In the press release the team said Semin "will play a few games for Sokol Krasnoyarsk," and will make his debut on Sept. 28.

"I just wanted to be at home a little more. And then the possibility came after the lockout was announced in the NHL. I decided to stay in Krasnoyarsk. That's all. My family was surprised at first, but then became very supporting. Everyone was very happy," he told Pavel Lysenkov of Sovietsky Sport.

"I don't care what anyone says. I made the decision for myself. I am going to play for Sokol. A different question is I don't know how long I will play in Krasnoyarsk."

Semin will play for the club virtually for free, deciding to give back to the city where he grew up and where he started his career.

"My father taught me when I was young: 'You won't hide the money or put it under a pillow. You can put it in the bank where it will be for a few months, and then what?'  I agree with my father," said Semin, who will make about $1,600 US per month, the minimum for VHL.

"Money is not the most important thing in life. Even if I spend the entire season in Krasnoyarsk, it won't be a loss for me."

His new team is happy with the arrangement.

"We are very happy that Alexander Semin agreed to play for our club, " Sokol GM Denis Lugovik said. "We are used to the fact that stars of this magnitude come back to play only for big contracts, that's why Alexander's desire to help his hometown club generates ever greater respect."

I was told that team sponsors will pay premiums to insure Semin's NHL contract.

Semin joins Patrik Berglund of the St. Louis Blues, who will play for Västerås of the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan league also for free. According to our information, Semin will be free to join a KHL team at any time during his tenure with Sokol.

Which means a reunion with Alex Ovechkin in the KHL playoffs, should the NHL lockout extend that far, wouldn't be out of the question.

"I would like that. Everything is great between Ovechkin and I when it comes to the game. And our relationship is great," Semin said. "I would be only happy if Dynamo comes to me with an offer. I would be happy to consider it. But time will tell what happens in the end..."

Tags: Alex Semin, Alexander Semin, , , , , , ,
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As the NHL locked out its players, Nail Yakupov, taken first overall in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, flew back to his home town of Nizhnekamsk and agreed to a contract with the local KHL team, Neftekhimik.

He was scheduled to be in the starting lineup in Neftekhimik's next game in Nizhni Novgorod. But that's likely not going to happen, because the IIHF is refusing to issue Yakupov's transfer card to the KHL club.

It's something that could affect other NHL players trying to spend the lockout in Europe.

An IIHF transfer card is needed for any player participating in any tournament under the IIHF umbrella. It is sort of a permit to play. The KHL and every hockey league in Europe is under the IIHF umbrella. The KHL had its run-ins with the international hockey governing body before, when the IIHF either refused or delayed issuing transfer cards, like in the case with Alex Radulov. On certain occasions, these tensions led to KHL threatening to leave the organization.

"The IIHF is not allowing Yakupov to play. The transfer card has not been sent from Switzerland (the IIHF headquarters)," Neftekhimik director Rafik Yakubov told Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov.

"I can't even imagine what this is related to. Perhaps the international hockey federation doesn't want to feud with the NHL and is waiting when they receive an approval from there. The negotiations are ongoing and we were told that there will be no requests. So, Nail cannot play against Torpedo. He is already in Nizhnekamsk, practicing with the team and is ready to play even tomorrow."

Lysenkov is reporting that Igor Larionov, Yakupov's agent, had an agreement in place with the Edmonton Oilers to allow Yakupov to play in the KHL for the duration of the lockout.

But now Yakupov has to wait.

The NHL is not a member of the IIHF, but has a great deal of power bossing the international governing body around. Rene Fasel rarely goes against NHL's wishes, and it is not surprising the IIHF is possibly waiting for NHL's official permission to issue transfer cards to NHL players allowing them to play in Europe during the lockout.

No one will officially confirm this within the IIHF, but it is possibly the case that this is yet another way the NHL can stop players from playing altogether. The IIHF's leadership is weak to make independent decisions.

(Asked how much of a role NHL plays in IIHF decision on transfer cards, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail to Yahoo! Sports: "None, either directly or indirectly.")

The large scale of the IIHF's ineptness is that apparently Yakupov is not the only one without the transfer card. Czech media outlets are reporting that none (!) of the NHL players who have signed deals in Europe in the last few days have received their transfer cards. Not Jaromir Jagr nor Evgeni Malkin nor Sergei Gonchar nor Ilya Kovalchuk. We are awaiting confirmation of this, as the time difference with Europe is such that it is tough to get answers.

But again, this whole story is not surprising. The IIHF does not want to get into a feud with the NHL even though, as I mentioned, the NHL is not related to the IIHF in any way.

UPDATE: Szymon Szemberg of the IIHF provided the following information in the hopes of clarifying the process and explaining some of the delays:

Whenever a club has signed a player to personal contract, the club that has recruited the player must start the international transfer card (ITC) procedure. Most likely, a professional club either has a card in the club office or acquires one from its national federation.

An ITC needs three signatures -- outgoing federation, ingoing federation and the player -- to be approved by the IIHF; and when it has the three signatures, the IIHF immediately approves the transfer, informing the relevant parties that the player is cleared to play.

The IIHF never stalls or delays any transfers. As soon as it has the three approvals, the player is good to go.

Example: When Atlant Mytishi wants to recruit Andreas Engqvist from the Montreal Canadiens, they take the ITC card and have the player and the Russian hockey federation sign it. After that they send it to Hockey Canada (as Montreal is in Canada) and HC checks with NHL Central Registry about the player's contractual status. If the player is not under a valid and binding contract, NHL CR gives HC the OK to sign the ITC. HC, if it is time pressure, scans the ITC and e-mails it as an attachment to the IIHF.

The very second the ITC arrives at the IIHF with all three signatures, the IIHF informs RHF/KHL/Atlant that the player is eligible to play. So the IIHF is never in a position to stall or delay anything.

In the regulations, it says that the outgoing federation has seven days to approve the ITC. The reason is that it sometimes it takes time to determine the players' contractual status or the player's old club must be given time to clear certain things, whether the player has honored all his obligations. If the outgoing federation does not approve within seven days, the IIHF immediately contacts the federation asking and asks for reason why. If the federation has no reason, the IIHF approves the transfer.

So when Yakupov left for the CHL it was the other way around; Sarnia started the ITC process and Neftekhimik/Russian HF were given seven days to sign the ITC.

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With some of the big names signing in the KHL, Alex Ovechkin is still on the market. Some of us thought that today, Alex Ovechkin's 27th birthday, he would get a nice present in the form of a contract in the KHL.

But nothing has happened yet.

Just recently, his alma mater Dynamo Moscow was making strange noises about not bringing him on board for the lockout. And that's after the club employed Ovechkin as its "official advisor" a couple of years ago even though it is tough to say if the relationship is still ongoing.

Gleb Chistyakov, his Russian agent, said:"CSKA and Dynamo Moscow have interest in us. The negotiations are still ongoing.  And there's nothing concrete that can be disclosed to the newswire."

But one thing is clear: Ovechkin thinks the NHL lockout may take an entire year and if it does, he will spend that year in the KHL.

Said Ovechkin, exclusively to Pavel Lysenkov and Sovietsky Sport: "If the League [NHL] continues to insist on their [demands], then it will take a full year. That's because we are not going to cave in.  Then I will spend the entire season in the KHL. It's an absolute reality."

Where in the KHL would Ovechkin play? Said Matveev:

"First of all, there's a difficult question with insurance.  For players of Ovechkin's level it is about $100k per month.  The insurance company must be established, approved by the NHLPA.  Secondly, of course, there's the contract's substance."

How important it is to play with established players:

"Of course Ovechkin wants to play with good teammates.  But it is not the deciding factor.  I think that the clubs still don't know who they will sign.  Who will tell you now that Datsyuk, Semin and Ovechkin will be on the same team?"

Chistyakov added that he hopes the negotiations won't take long

It's worth remembering that Sergei Fedorov, who played with Ovechkin in Washington, is currently CSKA's general manager.

But the KHL's president says Dynamo has a "moral right" to Ovechkin.

Ovechkin has avoided questions about his future. "I am not yet ready to answer this question," Ovechkin told Dmitry Ponomarenko of Sovetsky Sport. "But I think that you will know everything in a few days. It will all be officially announced."

At the same time, the Washington Capitals captain said that he is yet to decide where he will play.

It is very possible, even more likely than not, that Ovechkin will indeed join CSKA. It is also possible he will be reunited with his old friend from Washington, Alexander Semin there, who also has not yet made up his mind about his lockout future.

And there are more whispers — completely unconfirmed — that Pavel Datsyuk may center that line.

Ovechkin also declined to tell who he is skating and practicing with, citing possible rumors. "I don't want to answer that question, otherwise rumors will start floating around. I will only say that I am not going to drag out the negotiations," he told SovSport. "For me personally the sooner I start the season the better. I fully understand that it will be difficult to adjust at first."

(Ed. Note: A previous version of this post listed Valery Matveev as Ovechkin's Russian agent, as per Izvestiya newspaper. His Russian agent is Gleb Chistyakov.)

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Sidney Crosby’s reps contact KHL’s Metallurg; Nikolai Kulemin close to joining Malkin

16 Sep

Will Sidney Crosby play in the KHL during the NHL lockout?

His Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin believes it's a possibility, and Crosby himself said he's considering playing overseas if the NHL work stoppage is lengthy.

Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL has signed both Malkin and Sergei Gonchar. According to Gennadi Velichkin, the team's vice president, more players will be on the way — and they've had some early contact with Crosby's representatives.

"We had no doubts that we would sign Malkin and Gonchar," Velichkin told Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov.

"It was floating in the air. We were saying for a long time that if Metallurg was to invite someone for the duration of the lockout, then it would only be the players we developed.  There was one defenseman among them, who everyone guessed would be Gonchar.

"Last night we spoke with [Toronto Maple Leafs forward] Nikolai Kulemin's agent. I hope that in the coming days we will see the forward in Magnitogorsk.  Nikolai is in Toronto right now, but if everything comes together, he will leave for Russia on the next flight."

From Lysenkov and SovSport:

This means that the last vacancy for an NHL player will be taken by Kulemin.  You haven't even considered foreign born players?

VELICHKIN: "We were offered different options.  But we are targeting Nikolai.  If the number of NHL players in each team was not limited, we would think about foreign born players.  But we don't have a choice here.

"We held consultations with the team owner Viktor Rashnikov, with the coaching staff.  We took a long time to weigh in all pros and cons. And we came to the decision that it is better for us not to wait for foreign-born players.

"We received calls from Crosby's representatives. They asked us about a hypothetical possibility of signing a contract with Metallurg. We said 'Why not?'  But we never made it to the point of negotiations.

"I think Canadians and Americans won't leave for Russia starting tomorrow.  They will wait.  And to properly register those guys we would need around three weeks.  And this is only to obtain a work permit for a foreign citizen.  Don't forget about immigration services, work visas, Russian laws.

"We thought that we would not see any foreign born players on our team before the November Euro Hockey Tour break.  And if we register them then, they would play five or six games and go back to the NHL when the lockout is over.  It's a doubtful option, you should agree."

Velichkin also confirmed both Gonchar and Malkin will be in the lineup on Thursday vs. Salavat Yulaev.

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Tags: Evgeni Malkin, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, , Nikolai Kulemin, Penguins, , Sergei Gonchar, , , Velichkin,
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Here are KHL’s guidelines for signing locked-out NHL players; mandatory Stanley Cup finalist?

11 Sep

The KHL has announced the official change to its Regulations concerning signing players with NHL contracts for the duration of the lockout in the NHL.

The document will become effective on the day the NHL announces the lockout, and will be in force until the NHL officially announces the end of the lockout. The change to the Regulations is designed to cover players who have NHL contracts, excluding those who have two-way NHL contracts and are assigned to the minor league by their NHL clubs for the duration of the lockout.

KHL's Hockey Operations Vice President Vladimir Shalaev said the following about the change:

"Our clubs are getting an opportunity to enter into contracts and to put on their rosters no more than three NHL players, and these players can be included above the established limit of 25 players.  Of the three NHL players signed to a contract by Russian KHL clubs, there may be only one [foreign born] player.  And it cannot be just any foreign born player, but one who meets one of the special criteria that was set in place to ensure only top level players come to the KHL."

The new regulations are, shall we say, quite specific.

The special criteria applying to foreign born players are that such players. Keep in mind the players must meet any one of the criteria. Not all of them:

- Must have played no less than 150 games in the NHL in the last three seasons;

- Must have had experience playing in the KHL;

- Must be a member of the national team of his country at one of the last two IIHF World Championships, World Junior Championships or the Olympic games;

- Must be a winner or the finalist of the Stanley Cup or the winner of one of the individual prizes awarded by the National Hockey League at the end of the season.

KHL clubs based outside of Russia may have more than one "foreign born player" among the three NHL players. This means that the aforementioned criteria does not apply no KHL clubs based outside of Russia, and teams like Slovakian Slovan can go after their country's NHL players like Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara.

The Russian KHL clubs currently have a five "foreign player" per team limit, including one such goaltender.  With the new rule, they can add another such player without a problem, but will still have an opportunity to only dress five foreign born players for any given game.

Furthermore, as we reported earlier, the salaries paid for the lockout-only rentals, will not be counted towards the KHL salary cap.

However, the salary paid to NHL players may not be higher than 65 percent of the salary in his NHL contract for this season.

Shalaev also clarified:

"Contracts our teams enter into with NHL players must be enforceable until April 30 of next year, to the end of the 2012-2013 season.  However, every contract must have a clause allowing unilateral termination at the end of the NHL lockout.  Of course, no compensation is to be paid for such termination."

In other words: All contracts signed must have April 30 as their expiration date, i.e. KHL standard player contract. The only thing that is not "standard" in those contracts, is that they will be unilaterally terminated (KHL didn't clarify by who, but I guess by KHL clubs themselves) when the lockout is officially over.

In addition, KHL clubs will be able to trade their NHL lockout players in accordance with the current rules of the League.

KHL clubs will also have a discretion to purchase insurance for their NHL players in addition to the coverage — medical, life etc — already mandated by the KHL Regulations.

Tags: , , finalist, , limit, , , ,
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How KHL’s Lokomotiv was reborn, one year after plane crash tragedy

07 Sep

One year ago today, hockey fans around the world were shocked and touched by a tragedy.

At 4:05 p.m. local time, a Yak-42D plane carrying 45 people crashed at takeoff at Yaroslavl airport. The entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team was killed and 43 people, in total, perished. One player, Alexander Galimov, had survived the crash, but suffered burns on 90 percent of his body. He would succumb to his injuries five days later at a local hospital.

The day after, the KHL announced that Lokomotiv would be rebuilt.

[Related: Former airline executive charged in Lokomotiv plane crash tragedy]

A well-known Russian coach, Petr Vorobiev, who was coaching Lokomotiv's junior team, was named the head coach of the rebuilding squad. At the time, the League was considering two options for the future of the club: One would have Lokomotiv play the 2011-2012 KHL season with its youth team; the other would have a roster made up of one line from the junior team and the rest from replacement players from other KHL squads. More than 30 players voiced their willingness to play for Lokomotiv following the tragedy.

But on Sept. 10, Lokomotiv President Yuri Yakovlev announced that the team would not field a KHL team that season. "Our main priority is to take care of the families and the loved ones of those who perished in the tragedy," said Yakovlev. "Our other priority is to rebuild the team to the needed level."

Three months later, on Dec. 12, the "new" Lokomotiv played its first game since the tragedy. Lokomotiv had joined Russia's Major Hockey League — which is the second highest hockey league in Russia after the KHL — and their first game saw a 5-1 win over Neftyanik.

Last season, Lokomotiv played 22 games and made the playoffs in the Major Hockey League, losing in the second round. As they return to the highest level of professional hockey in Russia, the franchise will keep a team in the minor league as well.

[Also: CBA silence is deafening as NHL, NHLPA risk an unnecessary lockout]

In order to be competitive at the KHL level, Lokomotiv needed to rebuild their senior team. In October, Egor Yakovlev, a 20-year old defenseman, became the first player signed by Lokomotiv since the crash.

This summer, the team was very active on the free agent market. Players with NHL experience such as Curtis Sanford, Vitaly Vishnevsky, Victor Kozlov, Sami Lepisto, Niklas Hagman and Staffan Kronwall all signed on. Tom Rowe, who served as a scout and assistant coach with the Carolina Hurricanes, was hired as the the new head coach.

On Thursday, one day before the first anniversary of the tragedy, Lokomotiv was reborn, winning their opening game in Novosibirsk against Sibir. The game was sold out and it tickets were impossible to come by, even from scalpers. Emotions surrounding their return were high, even in an opposing arena. Sibir fans welcomed Lokomotiv back with chants of "Loko! Loko!" before the puck was even dropped.

Before the game, a minute of silence took place, during which pictures of those perished in the crash were projected on the ice. Lokomotiv were victorious 5-2.

[More: Maple Leafs rank last in survey of 122 pro sports teams]

The date of Sept. 7, 2011 will forever be remembered in the hockey world. There will never be any hockey played in the KHL on this day. A number of memorial services and other events are scheduled in Yaroslavl, and at 7 p.m. local time, sweaters of the players who lost their lives a year ago will be raised to the rafters of Arena-2000, Lokomotiv's home.

They are gone, but they will never be forgotten.

Vitaly Anikeyenko
Mikhail Balandin
Gennady Churilov
Pavol Demitra
Robert Dietrich
Alexander Galimov
Marat Kalimulin
Alexander Kalyanin
Andrei Kiryukhin
Nikita Klyukin
Stefan Liv
Jan Marek
Sergei Ostapchuk
Karel Rachunek
Ruslan Salei
Maxim Shuvalov
Karlis Skrastinš
Pavel Snurnitsyn
Daniil Sobchenko
Ivan Tkachenko
Pavel Trakhanov
Yuri Urychev
Josef Vašícek
Alexander Vasyunov
Alexander Vyukhin
Artem Yarchuk

Yuri Bakhvalov
Aleksandr Belyaev
Alexander Karpovtsev
Igor Korolev
Nikolai Krivonosov
Yevgeni Kunnov
Vyacheslav Kuznetsov
Brad McCrimmon
Vladimir Piskunov
Yevgeni Sidorov
Andrei Zimin

Plus seven members of the crew.

Alexander Sizov, a crew member, was the sole survivor.

Tags: , , , , Lokomotiv, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Major Hockey League, , , Yaroslavl
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KHL to provide home for NHLers for duration of potential lockout

04 Sep

A few weeks ago my KHL source told me that the League was trying to work out how to accommodate a possible NHL lockout without making any groundbreaking changes to the League's regulations. There were a few KHL managers who didn't even want to make any concessions for the lockout. Other general managers expressed concerns regarding the potential for a damage to team chemistry because a player coming from the NHL for a short period of time would inevitably take a spot of someone who is on a permanent contract.

But the temptation of being the lucrative market for world's best hockey players to play hockey during the lockout is just too great. And today with the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier in town to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Summit Series and play two charity games, the KHL announced that it will make changes to their own rules. SovSport's Pavel Lysenkov passed on KHL President Alexander Medvedev's words:

First of all, any KHL team will be allowed to sign up to three players from the NHL for the duration of the possible lockout in the NHL. Of the three, one may be from any country other than Russia.

Furthermore, none of these "lockout-long" contracts would count towards the KHL salary cap, which is a "soft" cap to begin with.

At the same time, the KHL rule allowing only five non-Russian born players per team to be on the roster for any given game will remain. The rule only applies to teams based in Russia (the KHL is, after all, not only a Russian league).

With countries like Sweden no longer an option in Europe for NHL players, the KHL is trying to make itself more attractive to world stars. Medvedev also tries to play to NHL player's advantage. Asked whose side he is on in the current CBA dispute Medvedev said: "I talked a lot with the PA chief Donald Fehr, and he described the players' position to me. I think the League is trying to be too tough on players. And it is at least unfair."

Tags: cap, , , , , Mark Messier, , , , , wayne gretzky
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Evgeni Malkin: Sidney Crosby may play in Russia if NHL has lengthy lockout

29 Aug

With the first anniversary of the Lokomotiv plane crash tragedy next week, a few prominent people in Russia, including hockey players, are holding charity events to raise money for the families of the victims.

On Wednesday afternoon, Team Kovalchuk and Team Malkin played a charity game in Moscow that ended in a friendly draw 14-14. After the game, Evgeni Malkin gave some intriguing quotes regarding the potential NHL lockout.

"I didn't organize this event as it has been held for the last three years," Malkin told SovSport's Pavel Lysenkov. "I am only here to substitute Ovechkin [who is at the U.S. Open in New York]."

Here's Malkin's chat with Lysenkov:

Q. For the last week the media has been discussing where Evgeni Malkin will play in case of a lockout…

MALKIN: "It's been said a hundred times that the lockout hasn't been announced. Why make any statements for nothing? Yes, I have an agreement — I will play for [Metallurg] Magnitogorsk. But I have not signed a contract."

Metallurg vice president Gennadi Velichkin said that his club owns your rights.

"There are no rights. But that's my city. Why leave?  I don't want to create a negative atmosphere around myself. It's important for me what fans think and say about me. Everything that's dear to me is in Magnitogorsk — family, friends…  I hope that I will play at home and the lockout will be over by the New Year's."

Dynamo let everyone know that they are not ready to pay Ovechkin a lot.

"I believe that Metallurg won't turn me down…"

And what's the word from Pittsburgh? Will there be a lockout?

"I don't know myself. I am following the news, I'm anxious. But hockey players are like employees. We work for the salary when it is paid. Everyone wants to make good money. But club owners have the same feeling. I want to believe that 2004 won't be repeated when salaries were rolled back 25 percent. Maybe just a little bit."

Will Sidney Crosby come to Magnitogorsk?

"I think he won't go to the KHL right away. He will see how the situation develops. I see that the league and the PA have started to come closer. Perhaps the lockout won't continue for the entire year. That's why a lot of North American players won't go to Europe until the very last moment. A lot of them are a bit afraid of Russia. But the best hockey league in the world after the NHL is here.

"And if the lockout is announced for the entire season, then Crosby may come. He loves to play and won't be able to live an entire year without hockey."

Has anyone else you play with for Pittsburgh showed interest in the KHL?

"Canadians joked about it at the end of last season. 'We heard that in Russia you get paid well. Let's go there!'  But I'm tired of discussing every day whether there will be a lockout. Rumors already have me at CSKA!  And in reality I simply live in Moscow. We agreed with the club GM Sergei Fedorov that Gonchar, Bryzgalov and I would be allowed to practice with Red Army [CSKA's junior team].

"But I have not considered any other options other than Magnitogorsk. And I won't consider anything else."

Tags: , Evgeni Malkin, , , , , , , , Team Malkin
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