Just about every free agent in this summer off season seems to be rumored to be going to Russia for the new Kontinental League. With salaries comparable to the National Hockey League, they are luring talent across the Atlantic and some players are answering the call and commuting to Russia to play.
With now two seemingly good leagues separated by the globe, could a interleague super series be in the future? It's an interesting question and many on the KHL side would like to see NHL franchises compete with their teams. A thought that I am sure has crossed the mind of Gary Betteman. A super series with games both played here in North America and over in Russia.
Imagine Alex Ovechkin playing in his home town of Moscow in a Capitals sweater against his former team Dynamo Moscow or Jaromir Jagr suiting up for Omsk to play against the New York Rangers. Both games heavy with storylines that both Russian and North American fans would understand and both be interested in.
While some here in Canada and the U.S. are outraged about talent making the jump to the Russian Hockey side, many Russians still are mad about the flow of their fellow countrymen playing in the NHL in the 80's. Hockey Karma has a way of doing that. Instead of bickering over players, how about a series of games between the two to bridge the gap.
Downsides? While this seems a winner for the fans, owners from both leagues probably wouldn't want their talented players injured in exhibition games. Plus the cost of shipping players back and forth across the Atlantic could give the owners the shakes and players some serious jet lag.
Of course it has to be profitable too. The whole point of doing things like the Winter Classic is to make money, which the NHL did last January and it's the reason there will be another this season in Chicago. It also has to grab ratings for American audiences. But I think both can be achieved for the basic concept that really no other league from any other sport really does this with the most skilled players in the world. This could help both leagues and would create as close to a world wide league as one could get.
At the very least it is an intriguing proposal. Would you tune in for a super series between the NHL and the KHL?