The NHL and the Russian Hockey Legends during the Global Hockey Legends For Hurricane Sandy Relief Charity Game in New Jersey, on April 13. Source: Getty Images / Fotobank
On Tuesday, October 1 an all-Canadian match between Montreal and Toronto opened the National Hockey League season. The regular season will last until April 14, with a two-week break in February for the Olympic Games in Sochi. The Russian stars who play in the NHL and the Olympic hockey games will be the main focus of the stories RBTH will be covering during the new sports season.
This winter will be a special one for hockey fans on both sides of the ocean. The NHL will play its first full season after the lockout. The league has changed, and over the next year we will see more clearly exactly how it has changed.
In February, about a hundred players will head off for the Olympics. Gary Bettman will probably announce the exact amount of money that the league will have to lose for those two weeks.
On the sidelines people are saying that this Olympics may be the last for NHL players. And if that happens, given the potential of the Russian KHL, the lineups of the North American clubs could change beyond recognition.
Actually, the league has already begun to lose its stars, and the lockout was one of the reasons. To everyone's amazement left winger Ilya Kovalchuk gave up a multi-year contract with the New Jersey Devils and transferred to the St. Petersburg SKA for a salary of $10 million a year.
If the leadership of the NHL makes the historic decision not to release players for the next Olympics, then, for example, Ovechkin will surely leave for Russia. Especially considering the toothless striker will turn 33 in 2018. Can you imagine the NHL without Ovechkin?
Anyway, a new season without Kovy is pure nonsense, at least for the fans of the Devils and the Russian fans of the NHL. However, it is recognized that NHL games are still clearly superior to the other leagues around the world. And Kovy's place at the forefront of hockey will be taken by young players.
This year seven Russian newcomers signed contracts to play in the NHL. In addition, tempting offers from the KHL in the off-season were refused by Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, new Dallas player Valery Nichushkin, and Detroit leader Pavel Datsyuk.
You can read more about these and other Russian NHL stars in our guide. Independent hockey experts from North America and Russia have sent in their predictions about how the new Russian players and their clubs will fare in the new season. Stay tuned!
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