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KHL president argues new CBA opens door to terminate contracts

Jan 8, 2013, 8:36 PM EDT

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NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was previously told that the KHL “will honor its agreement with us,” but it looks like the Russian league still intends to defend any NHL players that don’t want to return to North America.

KHL president Alexander Medvedev feels that the new CBA might be grounds for the termination of contracts signed prior to it, according to Slava Malamud and

“Our league will act according to our own and international rules,” Medvedev said. “If players decide to stay, we will help them.”

He also doesn’t think that any players that argue against their NHL deals should be afraid of possible IIHF sanctions.

Needless to say, this could be a serious problem for some teams.

New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has already stated that he plans to spend the rest of the season with Bratislava Slovan. Meanwhile, Ilya Kovalchuk is still playing for St. Petersburg SKA and won’t commit to returning to the New Jersey Devils.

“Time will tell (if I stay in the KHL),” Kovalchuk said. “Nothing is out of the question.”

For now, the NHL doesn’t want to respond to Medvedev’s comments.

“We will see what happens,” Daly said, according to the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.


Could Ovechkin and/or Kovalchuk legally get out of their NHL contracts?

  1. jcmeyer10 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Can’t blame the the guy for trying.

  2. ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Let’s be honest, we all saw this coming when the best russian players went to play in the KHL.

  3. orangeandblack67 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Let’em stay. I may seem a bit biased since no one from the flyers is in this boat but I have spoke to some devil fans and they can live without “Kovalchoke” ( their words not mine). If they do choose to stay in Russia though they should be hammered for breach of contract. This goes for Tim Thomas as well. A contract is a contract.

    • martysbetter - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      Was this the same “Kovalchoke” that lead playoff scoring last year?

      Ah, a Flyers fan – still mad that Broduer had more even strength points than Giroux in our little series?

      • macjacmccoy - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        Giroux with the 2 broken wrists? Big accomplishment.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:03 AM

      And just what type of legal action do you think you can get from a Russian playing in Russia?

  4. sportsfan69 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Who wants to go “the Kessel”? I don’t see any Canadian, American, or even European players wanting to play in Russia.

    • stakex - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      These guys are playing in their homeland, for nearly as much money as they can make here. I really don’t blame some of them for wanting to stay. Russia might not be a great place for a Westerner to visit (parts are quite nice actually), but if you were born and raised there I imagin you would feel quite different about it.

      • bcisleman - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM

        Visnovsky isn’t Russian. He’s Slovakian. If he ever wants to play in the NHL again, he’ll have to come back to the Isles. Don’t know what will happen as far as breach of contract.

      • killerpgh - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        Not to mention that the players are played tax free over there.

      • badintent - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:58 AM

        That’s the point ! playing for the Isle is like playing in a Siberian Gulang. It’s called Bed-Sty(rythems with pigsty) My friend was working security for the Nets, quit, said the area was too dangerous even for him.

      • ranndino - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:27 PM

        @bcisleman Dude, Visnovsky plays for Slovan Bratislava. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. So he’s playing at home. Not sure you know, but the KHL is not just made up of Russian teams anymore. They’re expanding to try and become kind of like the NHL of Europe.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      They have the potential to make more money over there because the owner’s are billionaires who own their teams for bragging rights not to offset gains on their taxes.

  5. jhuck92 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    The IIHF might have to step in if this gets really heated. I say we have an old-school North America vs. Russia series for the rights of the players. That’ll get me back into hockey real fast.

    • lordstanley65 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      Excellent idea! Imagine the stakes…no way I’d miss that!

  6. stakex - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    Well we all knew this was coming once the rumors about KHL owners making huge offers to keep NHL players in the KHL after the lockout started. Those owners wouldn’t be making those kind of offers if they didn’t have reason to believe (or out right know) the KHL management would back them up.

    Now with that said, I doubt any of the big stars are going to stay in Russia (though I wouldn’t put it past Kovalchuk). The real fight is going to be over Visnovsky. Even if you agree with the laughable position of the KHL that the lockout might make NHL players contracts void, Visnovsky fled to the KHL before the lockout… which means there is little argument from the KHLs side to allow him to stay in Russia. Of course the KHL could use the lockout in that fight as well, but I doubt that would fly with the IIHF.

    • jimw81 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      The real fight is going to be over Visnovsky. basically it’s over a guy who doesnt want to play for islanders. um ok.

      • stakex - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:38 PM

        Its over a guy who doesn’t want to honor a legally binding NHL contract.

      • woodstakes - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:44 AM

        Idk stakex but to me it seems that as soon as that “legally binding NHL contract” pays him anything less than what it states on the document I would think it could be viewed as breached and not on his part. Now, I know there is the “Make Whole” thing and that is in place to ensure the players get paid… but it does not mean he will get paid this year for this years salary. It just means somewhere along the lines he will get his money. So as soon as that salary is not paid to him and he doesn’t get it back in escrow payment due to the league and players share both reaching 50/50 then the “Make Whole” kicks in.. at least that’s my understanding. So if a contract says you get paid $1M for this year and he gets paid $800k then technically that contract has been breached. Now with CBA laws that my be different, however I think if it went to court it could probably be proven if one was willing to spend the funds to fight it… and KHL owners have the funds.

        Bottom line is the NHL did this to themselves by trying to get out from under these contracts already (trying to ‘legally’ breach the contracts). By doing so they set a precedent that NHL contracts are apparently not all that “legally binding”. At least they weren’t when it was in favor for the league side of the coin. I guess all i’m saying is they started down that slippery slope and now here’s the consequence for trying to bully the NHLPA on these contracts.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:18 AM

        Woodstakes, this was the worst attempt at trying to explain contract law. It’s great that you know a few key words but you have no idea what you’re talking about.

        You should also learn when it’s appropriate to use quotation marks around words.

      • woodstakes - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:31 AM

        The quotation marks are there as sarcastic shot at the idea’s behind them.. Like the “Make Whole” idea which is a stupid way of saying “Yes, you will get paid… we just don’t know when.” As for trying to explain contract law… all I was trying to do is describe how I understand what has been leaked out so far. In no way am I trying to say that I “know” (like what I did there) anything more than anyone else. It was simply a statement that if my understanding was wrong that someone would correct me so that I may understand it better. Also, I didn’t know that the grammar police come to chat sites to critique others. Perhaps you could have stated something that was of some intellectual help to the dialogue we were discussing. You know, maybe say something that explains what part it is I got wrong and what the correct statement would be. You know, try contributing instead of being a grammatical tool!

      • wingsdjy - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        I think the union ratifying the contract would make your argument void. Visnovsky is part of the union, so he has to follow whatever they agree regardless of his personal feelings. He could pull a Tim Thomas and just not play hockey.

  7. ironcity6pak - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    The NHL dug its self a hole, they will have to deal with it and look for new stars to take their place.

  8. orangeandblack67 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    First of all Marty I clearly stated that those were the words of devils fans not mine. Second of all we will see how far the old man gets you guys this year most likely his last may I add. The only thing keeping you guys out of the Atlantic div. basement are the islanders. I see years of playoff futility in NJ near future. No Parise + No Brodure = No Chance!!!

    • lasallehockey81 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:14 PM

      People forget the Flyers were coming off one of the most physical, emotional series they’ve ever had. Devils got them at the right time. Not to take away from the devils’ run. But that matchup in the 1st round had a good deal to do with the 4-1 series.

      • thecheeman - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        Oh please. Sorry the Devils-Panthers 7 game OT series wasn’t emotional enough for you Flyers fans to approve of. I remember the Flyers were so emotionally drained after that series they took the stage at a Nickelback concert like a bunch of toolbags and took a big bow like they really accomplished anything beyond winning one series.

    • thecheeman - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      Dude you might remember two years ago after the Devils fired MacLean they ripped off like 20 straight wins under Lemaire without Parise who missed that entire season. It hurts a lot but franchises have endured losing better players than Zach.

  9. mydoglouie - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    I wonder if the devils are quietly hoping he and his terrible contract stay in the K. Of all the long term deals for forwards, his was one that made no sense based on his track record.

    • thecheeman - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      the numbers might be huge, but would the track record you’re referring to be his track record of 6 consecutive 40+ goal seasons, including two 50 goal seasons, while he was still in his absolute prime?

      Amazing comment there pal.

  10. spetznaz777 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    i doubt kolvy will stay in the khl but i think the league thought that the radulov debacle would be the last of this khl/nhl feud over contracts. agents and teams should be conscious of players jumping ship to russia and have some sort of out clause “if you leave we only owe you this much” i think micheal vick’s contract has some sort of outclause where both sides walk away and only owe 3 million. one last bitter note though: hey league if you would’nt of lowballed the players and caused the lockout this wouldnt of happened.

    • macjacmccoy - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      I cant believe anyone would compare NHL contracts to NFL contracts. They arent even close to the same thing. NFL contracts arent guaranteed meaning they all have out clauses. And what are you talking about that the NHL should have some out clause so they dont have to pay them their full amount of money if they jump ship? Of course they have an out clause. IF you dont play for the NHL team you signed with you dont get paid anything. Simple as that. How can someone be a sports fan and not know that.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:19 AM

      Why would Russia enforce a US judgment against their own citizen?

  11. govtminion - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    The only people who didn’t see this coming were the NHL owners and Bettman.

    • macjacmccoy - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      yea im sure they didnt know this was a possibility.

  12. mountainmantride - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    Let me get this straight. Owners lockout the players. Owners want to “redo” players contracts…you know stuff like length of the deal, amount of contract, cap limits, terms of contract, etc., etc. BUT the contracts are still valid. Huh? The details of the contracts are significantly changed but the players are obligated to them anyhow. The comedy routine aka the NHL continues. I used to really like Comedy Central, I’m now turning to PHT for my comedy fix.

    • stakex - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      Spoken like someone who has no idea what the hell hes talking about, and doesn’t know a thing about business.

      The contracts the players sign are tied to the CBA. If one CBA expires, and a new one is signed, they just carry over to the new one and all new CBA rules are applied to that contract. Thats how it works, and the players know that. A couple other points:

      1. Max contract length doesn’t mean a thing to current deals. So even though thats a big change, it can only impact a player AFTER their current deal expires.

      2. The amount of the contracts isn’t changing. If a player is suppose to make $8 million next year, thats what they will be paid by the team. Now some of that money goes into escrow, and all that changes now is how much is taken back from the escrow account. Its also worth pointing out this is where the “make whole” money comes in.

      3. Cap limit has no impact on a current deal, other then teams being stuck with contracts that are higher then they should be to fit the current cap.

      4. Most of the terms on the contract won’t change, and the ones that do are parts of the contract that are tied to the CBA. So its not the contract that changes, but rather the CBA its tied to.


      Now the players know all this can/probably would happen when they signed their current deals. Theres no suprise here, and theres nothing funky about it… its just how the business works. The only comical thing here is just how bad you understand whats going on.

  13. dkphilly1122 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Will ANYONE miss Kovi?? One of the most overrated, over paid waste of roster spots. He didn’t do much of anything against the Flyers either Marty…..remember he had an “injury”, at least that was his excuse to miss the first few games. Flyers will school them this year without there best player in Parise. Marty Brodeur had a great year last year but he isn’t getting any younger. He is bound to start showing signs of age and I believe it will be this year. Like Orange said up further, people I know who are Devil fans hate Kovi and his horrible contract.

    • stakex - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      Hearing a Flyers fan trash talk another teams goalie always makes me laugh.

      • lordstanley65 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:49 PM

        Yah, me too…it’s like whistling while passing a graveyard.

    • thecheeman - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      Kovy had 7 points in 4 games in the Flyers series. He only missed one game. LOL FLYERS FANS.

      Brodeur didn’t even play well AT ALL until about the last third of the regular season last year. He was notably subpar before that, so while he picked it up big time late he hardly carries the team all year. Hedberg was the better goalie for the Devils in the first half of the season and it wasn’t even close.

  14. orangeandblack67 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Stak you actually made me chuckle reading your goalie comment but truth is truth; Brodure can’t carry the devils forever.

  15. hockeyflow33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    Please everyone, if you have no background in law, do not write opinions as if you do.

    • lordstanley65 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:55 AM

      So folks can’t form their own opinions without a law degree? Was that part of the new CBA?

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:28 AM

        They aren’t opinions, people are giving out wrong information and that acting as if it has to be correct.

        Sometimes it’s better to listen, (or read).

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:29 AM


  16. icrew29 - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    If any player doesn’t want to play in the NHL, so be it. If you force him to play he will react just like anyone forced to do anything. Just explain that he will not be welcome in the NHL if he stays in the KHL.

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