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Zetterberg on players returning post-lockout: “I know for a fact Russians will probably stay”

Oct 10, 2012, 2:15 PM EDT

Henrik Zetterberg Getty Images

Though he’s currently signed with Switzerland’s EV Zug, Henrik Zetterberg knows he’ll be returning to Detroit once the NHL lockout is over.

He just isn’t sure if Russian players will follow suit.

That’s what Detroit’s alternate captain told on Wednesday, explaining how the KHL has become a legitimate option for a number of Russian players.

“I know for a fact Russians will probably stay,” Zetterberg said. “I can’t blame them either. The Russian league treats players a different way. For them to play in their home country and not have these (labor) disputes every other year … and they honor the contracts over there.

“If you sign a deal, that’s the deal you get.”

For Red Wings fans, the immediate concern is probably the future of Pavel Datsyuk, the 34-year-old Russian superstar currently plying his trade for CSKA Moscow.

Well, breathe easy Detroit supporters — according his agent, Gary Greenstin, Datsyuk will return to the Motor City once the lockout ends.

But while Datsyuk is a lock to return, other Russian NHLers don’t sound as committed.

— Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has already spouted off about the potential of some Russian players remaining in the KHL after the work stoppage ends.

Alex Ovechkin said he’d stay in the KHL if the NHL cut salaries.

Ilya Kovalchuk said he’d be “delighted” to play in the KHL all season. “I really don’t care, the main thing for me is hockey,” he told RIA Novosti.

Zetterberg said if the NHL doesn’t get some players back post-lockout, it only has itself to blame.

“It’s not our decision whether to play games,” he explained.” We were willing to play under the old CBA while they figured out the new one, but the league didn’t want to do that.

“If they don’t want to have us here playing, we just got to look for some other places to play.”

  1. davebabychreturns - Oct 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Jeez, who would have thought “do they honour their contracts” would become a benefit the KHL might offer a player over the NHL, rather than the opposite..

  2. kingfooj - Oct 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I don’t know if i buy Ovi’s poker face, but that said, i really dont see Kovalchuk coming back this season….good team, captain responsibilities, and he’s playing at home. I guess it also depends on how enthusiastic he is on becoming the first russian 500

  3. 13datsyuk13 - Oct 10, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I’m sure the players have to honor their contracts too. How many times have you seen a player sit out until he gets more money? That’s all the owners are doing.

  4. sippindasyzurp - Oct 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    “We can play under the terms of the old CBA”… That is seriously getting old already…They these things to all the fans thinking we really are that stupid to believe that would actually be reasonable.

    • kitshky - Oct 10, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      There are countless examples of parties negotiating labour deals in good faith while continuing operations … countless.

      • tmoore4075 - Oct 10, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        That’s great but the NHL has said countless times that they weren’t going to do that and the NHLPA knows the NHL would never have done that. It’s all spin.

      • cweez2 - Oct 10, 2012 at 4:33 PM

        and yet the NHLPA wouldn’t come to the table when the NHL asked them with over a year left on the CBA. This deadline was used for leverage by the NHLPA as much as the owners.

  5. therealjr - Oct 10, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    All these SPCs are subordinate to the CBA. That’s the only contract that has to be honored and it has expired. But it’s good to see where guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk have their heart. Go ahead and stay over there, we’ll miss watching you wilt under pressure.

  6. blomfeld - Oct 10, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    There’s only three possible explanations here:

    a) Zetterberg has received a KHL “cash-filled” envelope to utter this nonsense ?

    b) Zetterberg is actually a Swedish “stand-up” comic masquerading as an NHL hockey player ?

    c) Zetterberg mentally speaking, is of a somewhat “slower” bouquet ?

    What a complete joke ! There’s are far greater chance of ABBA doing a reunion tour with AC/DC than there is of Ovechkin and Kovalchuk staying in the KHL ! You watch what happens the “second” this lockout is resolved … these clowns will be running back even faster than the Roadrunner ! Yet if that wasn’t bad enough, truly “pathetic” will be the many who are willing to “forgive and forget” in the blink of an eye. Anyway Zäta, you’re right man … the NHL doesn’t have a chance against the KHL !

    • windmiller4 - Oct 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      god youre a moron.

      • hockeyflow33 - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:20 PM


      • blomfeld - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:23 PM

        sorry pal but I don’t speak Vermin, so I’m not sure what you’re mumbling about ? … at any rate, perhaps you meant “good morning” or something ? … well listen up you idiot … in Swedish we typically say “god morgon” to someone in the morning, not moron ! … think you can handle that ?

      • cweez2 - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:30 PM

        sadly, we all understand ‘idiot’ from our younger days and you come in loud and clear

  7. bellicosejeff - Oct 10, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Did the KHL not have to roll back player salaries several years ago because the league was losing money? They did actually, by 30%!! So other than THAT time, you get what you signed for over there right?

    Poor Z, is he worried he’ll be forced to make only 4 million a year instead of 6 to play in the worlds best hockey league? (guessing on % possibly lowered and it probably wouldn’t be as much as I figured) OH LORD NO!!! How the hell is he supposed to make due with that?!?! Same goes for all the high paid players. I think if make over a certain amount there should be a roll back (among other things) to help strengthen the league as a whole. Lower paid players shouldn’t have to. And don’t give me that “would you like having to take a pay cut” BS. Some of these guys make MILLIONS a year, I make 26k a year, it’s not a comparable situation.

  8. 1clumsybear - Oct 10, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Drop Bettman!

  9. alltimetroll - Oct 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Um, don’t they have a PREVIOUS contract they need to honor? Guess he forgot about that. This sounds like nonsense and scare tactics.

  10. cweez2 - Oct 10, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    That hit Weber put on him did more damage than we thought…

  11. challer9 - Oct 10, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    I wish Datsyuk was 31 still…

    • Mike Halford - Oct 10, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      Me too, apparently. Guess it’s because I’d like to see him dangle for a few more years. Anyway, change made, nice catch…..

      • challer9 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:47 PM

        Haha yeah, I honestly just read it and it came off a little douchey, which was not my intention. I was saying it for the same reason you have.

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