According to Slava Malumud of QMI via Slam.Canoe, former NHL defensman and 2001 NHL Hall of Fame inductee, Viacheslav Fetisov, is dreaming once again.
His idea? Grow hockey globally via a proposed Euro-Asian hockey league.
Presently the KHL has teams in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with Spain, apparently, in line to join next season. He is presently working on a team for Vladivostok on the Pacific and has dreams of adding teams from Japan, Korea and China.
His 'world domination' would include having a world series of hockey featuring the Stanley Cup Champion taking on the Gagarian Cup (KHL) Champion.
That's awesome. A throwback to the Super Series between Soviet Union teams and NHL teams which lasted for 15 years (1976-1991) and provided tons of memories.
Fetisov is familiar with that Series having been a big part of it during the 1980's. He and fellow defenseman Alexi Kasatonov, along with the KLM line--Vladmir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Markov, the most feared line in Europe--formed a formidable five-man unit for years. Fetisov and Larionov would end up winning Stanley Cups for the Detroit Red Wings in the 90's.
None of the North American "big four sports" has a true world-wide following with truly world-class athletes able to compete with the best North American athletes. Except for hockey.
Right now the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin are in the KHL while the lockout drags on. 2012 #1 overall pick Nail Yakupov is Russian and Sabres 2012 first rounder (#12-overall,) Mikhail Grigorenko is of Russian decent. The Czech Republic gave us Jaromir Jagr, Patrick Elias, and David Krecji. Slovakia--Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik and Zdeno Chara. And that's just a quick sample of the world-wide talent the NHL has on it's rosters.
It's also being said that the KHL is considering a strong effort to keep Kovalchuk, Malkin and Ovechkin. Fetisov even took it a step further in offering "material incentives" and thinks that ' if $1 billion were offered immediately to the NHL's brightest locked-out stars, it would create an exodus of players into the KHL that would pound Bettman into submission.'
Not that he would care. He likens Bettman a 'local lord-ling.'
And not that I would care either. Pretty sure most of the Crosby's, Stamkos', Miller's, Weber's Toews' and Kane's would stay in North America with an exodus of washed-up vets, money-grabbers and bottom-six-types cashing in.
As for the Russian's? For my money, I have no problem with the likes of Ovechkin and Kovalchuk heading home to the mother land to stay. Never liked their game. I love the North American game and would love nothing better than a return to Cold-War-era international hockey pitting the two styles against each other.
When this lockout is over and there's labor peace (however temporary,) I really hope that Fetisov's plan comes to fruition. Sorry New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Washington and Edmonton, money talks, especially tax-free money for mother-land Russians who are tired of being bullied by the 'local lord-ling.'