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‘It’s because of the money’: KHL threat is real, says Blue Jackets GM

May 24, 2013, 9:19 PM EDT

Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

At the same time his goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, is reportedly being pursued by SKA Saint Petersburg, Columbus Blue Jackets’ general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has opened up about the threat of losing players to the KHL.

“It’s real because of the amount of money they’re offering in some cases,” said Kekalainen, as per tweets from Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch.

“For some guys the money is too good to pass. And, for NHL clubs, if a guy is offered $5M more than you can pay, well then, ‘do svidaniya.'”

Portzline also stated that Kekalainen was not talking specifically about Bobrovsky, but just in general.

Bobrovsky, at the age of 24, emerged as a standout NHL goalie this season after posting a 21-11-6 record and .932 save percentage, which was good enough for second among netminders.

It also got him a Vezina Trophy nomination.

He is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, and contract talks between Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets haven’t made any progress, according to Kekalainen.


  1. sjsharks66 - May 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    Thats cold KHL. The Blue Jackets are finally having some success and you just want to take it away.

  2. loinstache - May 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    Obviously unfortunate but can you blame these players (especially Russian born) after another lockout? Why choose an unstable foreign league driven by money when you can choose an unstable local league offering more money?

    • killerpgh - May 24, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      The current CBA runs for 9 more seasons after this current season and the max contract Bobrovsky can sign would be 8 years if he resigns with the BJ’s so a lockout shouldn’t be a worry. One thing the NHL can offer that no other league can is Lord Stanley Cup. The KHL can offer more money but that and being the home land of some players. Going from what players who have returned to the NHL from the KHL there are less fans at game, worse travel, worse travel conditions, worse medical staffs, and the a lot of teams in the KHL were struggling to make payroll just 2 years ago.

      • nyrnashty - May 24, 2013 at 11:53 PM

        Russian players don’t care as much about the cup like we do. What’s the KHL’s trophy called? That’s my point!

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - May 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Billionaires in Russia can do what they want. Their counterparts in the US still have a rule or two to play by. Goddamn Obama, ruining the NHL with his fascist socialism.

  4. ikillchicken - May 24, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    If he’s referring to only Eastern European players then he’s absolutely right. Although at this stage playing in the KHL still seems to be an absolute last resort for anyone from North America, or Sweden, Finland, etc.

  5. thedavesiknowiknow - May 25, 2013 at 4:17 AM


  6. nhstateline - May 25, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    the other piece of it is that the KHL salaries are untaxed in Russia. This is a huge selling point and the teams often provide housing at no or minimal cost also untaxed. Plus there are fewer games and less physical contact.

    The NHL can compete with 1) level of play, 2) potential for endorsements and side deals and, most importantly, 3) lifestyle and amenities for its players. Russia is no easy place to live, there are things like the standards and distance of travel (there are longer trips than Miami to Vancouver in the KHL) and the amenities the club has (some of them are the same as the NHL but a lot aren’t) to offer in terms of training staff and facilities.

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