Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nothing in the way of signings today, just some odds and ends from the KHL . . .
The KHL held their “extension” draft to stock the new Russian team, Admiral Vladivostok, on Monday. No WHL or North American players were taken in the draft. The league didn’t release the names of the players who KHLwere available for selection, only the players chosen by Admiral.
The KHL released its 2013-14 schedule. The 52-game regular season starts Sept. 4 and ends March 3, with no games scheduled for Nov. 2 through Nov. 10 or from Dec. 13 to 24 for national team tournaments. There also will be a four-week break (Jan. 30 to Feb. 24) for the Olympics. By contrast, the NHL is planning on breaking for the Olympics on Feb. 9, just three days before the start of the tournament on Feb. 12.
Here is something you would never see in the NHL. KHL vice-president Vladimir Shalaev attacked the schedule, saying he is “embarrassed” that it offers only 52 games due to international hockey commitments. “A league like the KHL has no right giving fans only 52 games in the regular season,” Shalaev said. “It’s a mockery; it’s like making Pavarotti sing once a year.”
Russian Hockey Federation president Vladimir Tretiak said last month that it was the KHL’s duty to organize its regular-season schedule based on the interests of the national team.
The KHL also released team salary cap data for the 2012-13 season. The 26 KHL teams paid total salaries of 13.8 billion rubles (US$434.4 million) to 791 players for an average per player of 17.4 million rubles (US$549,134). This does not include NHL lockout contracts, which didn’t count against the league salary cap.
Three teams had player payrolls of more than 1 billion rubles (US$31.5 million): Ak Bars Kazan (1.06 billion rubles, US$33.4 million), Salavat Yulaev Ufa (1.043 billion rubles, US$32.9 million), and SKA St. Petersburg (1.023 billion rubles, US$32.2 million).
Metallurg Novokuznetsk had the lowest player payroll at 128.5 million rubles (US$4 million).
The league didn’t provide individual player salary information but 37 players counted more than 60 million rubles (US$1.89 million) each against the salary cap.
The KHL has import rules, unlike the NHL. For the 21 Russian-based clubs, they are allowed five non-Russian citizens on their rosters. There are two exceptions for 2013-14 season.
Admiral Vladivostok are allowed seven and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl are allowed six. The seven clubs based outside of Russia have a sort of “reverse import” rule. Each team must have at least five players on their roster who are eligible to play on their country’s national team.

1. The City of Medicine Hat is getting a new multi-purpose facility that will include a 7,059-seat arena. City Council voted 8-1 in favour of the construction of the Medicine Hat Regional Event Centre in the northwest part of the city by the Trans-Canada Highway. . . . According to a news release, the facility will be “designed by PBK Architects and will be constructed by PCL Construction Leaders. Council also agreed to have SMG Worldwide Entertainment and Convention Venue Management operate the building which will become the new home for the Medicine Hat Tigers.” . . . Shovels should be in the ground in August, with the Tigers in the new arena for the start of the 2015-16 season. . . . The cost: $74 million.

2. Hey, Medicine Hat, well done. But, sheesh, I thought you might name a new arena after the one and only . . . the legendary Bob Ridley. . . . There are enough Centres, Places and Arenas out there. Why not go with something like, uhh, Bob Ridley’s Bus Stop? . . . Hey, just thinking out loud here. . . .

3. On the subject of arena names, the Ottawa Senators have called a news conference for today at which, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, it will be announced that Scotiabank Place has been replaced by the Canadian Tire Centre.

OHL4. Marty Williamson, the GM/head coach of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, isn’t about to complain about the CHL’s decision to get rid of import goaltenders. But that doesn’t mean he understands why it’s happening. Bill Potrecz of the St. Catharines Standard has more right here, including this from Williamson:
“We believe we’re the best development league and we always take pride in making those comments. We have the Yakupovs as well as the Ryan Stromes and Dougie Hamiltons so that makes for quite a league. Now, to me, there’s a little asterisk beside it because now we don’t have the best goalies. We have the best North American goalies, but we don’t have the best goalies in the world coming to our league.”

5. If you have been watching the Stanley Cup final, perhaps you are asking yourself: How is it that Boston Bruins D Zdeno Chara didn’t win the Norris Trophy? . . . Then you realize that he finished fifth in the voting. And then you go and bang your head against a wall.

6. The Lethbridge Hurricanes have hired Kyle McDonald as their high performance coach. . . . McDonald, the owner of Regina-based Competitive Will Training, actually began his hockey coaching career as an assistant with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns while he was studying psychology. Since then, he has had coaching stints at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., with Hockey Canada and with the Iowa State Cyclones.

7. The OHL’s Kitchener Rangers have promoted assistant coach Troy Smith to assistant GM/assistant coach and signed him through 2014-15. . . . They also extended assistant coach Mike McKenzie through 2014-15. . . . They work alongside GM/head coach Steve Spott.

8. The AHL’s Calder Cup final could be decided tonight as the Grand Rapids Griffins take a 3-2 series lead over the Crunch into Game 6 in Syracuse. . . . Of course, the Griffins led this series 3-0 before losing two in a row at home. . . . If it goes to Game 7, it would be decided in Syracuse on Thursday night.

9. I don’t know where he got the information, but I’m certain that I heard TSN’s Dan O’Toole say the NHL Entry Draft is history and that it’s now simply the NHL Draft. . . . To that, I say: It’s about time!

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