Only Time Will Tell: Will Players Stay In The KHL?

Posted: January 9, 2013 by David Phillips in News
Tags: , , , ,

As the NHL and NHLPA finalize their plans to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement, a timeline for the start of the regular season is beginning to take shape.

Today players started to make their way back on the ice at team practice facilities. There was a buzz in the air as teammates reunited and gave interviews to the media. Things seem almost back to normal and by Saturday everything will be.

Many players have returned while others are hesitant to do so.

Ilya Kovalchuk says he will read the new agreement before he decides what to do next. “Time will tell if I stay in the KHL,” said Kovalchuk. He is not in a hurry to return to the United States.

Lubomir Visnovsky of the New York Islanders says his plans are to continue playing for HC Slovan Bratislava of the KHL. Visnovsky was traded from Anaheim to New York in June and was not happy about it. He filed a grievance over the summer through the NHL Players’ Association, claiming that the no-trade clause in his contract was still valid, because he never revoked it when Edmonton traded him to Anaheim. However, an independent arbitrator allowed the trade. Now he wants to stay in the KHL.

“I have decided to stay and continue my career in the KHL for the remainder of the 2012-13 season,” said Visnovsky in a statement. It appears as though he would have made this decision no matter what NHL team he was under contract with. “I am thankful to the Isles for being so good to me. My decision not to play in the NHL is due to family and personal reasons.”

“I have made no decisions on next season. My focus now is on Slovan Bratislava, and enjoying my family in my home country.”

“We have an agreement with the KHL that would preclude Mr. Visnovsky from continuing to play in the KHL once the lockout is officially lifted,” Daly said. “I assume that agreement will be respected.”

Later in the day, Daly confirmed that the KHL will honor their agreement with them. That goes for all players.

However, players that have returned from Russia have said that KHL teams are putting major pressure and huge money on the table to keep players from returning to the NHL.

Despite all of this, under International Ice Hockey Federation rules, players cannot stay in the KHL if they have a valid NHL contract. However, that doesn’t mean the players will report. There could be a big issue if the players and the KHL challenge the rules and try to push forward.

As of now it doesn’t seem as if this will turn into anything big. Only time will tell.


Ilya Kovalchuk is still on the KHL ASG roster.

Kovalchuk tells Sport-Express he’ll be on a plane to US Jan. 15 “Alas, (staying) is not realistic. I have contractual obligations to honor”



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