Could it get ugly between the NHL and the KHL?
There’s a battle brewing between the NHL and Russia’s top professional hockey league. And it could end with some of the best players in the world shirking their contracts to stay closer to home – decisions that could potentially involve International Ice Hockey Federation sanctions and Olympic bans.
Broadcasters have been given an idea as to when the end of the NHL season might be.
The National Hockey League plans to stretch out its playoff season through to the end of June to make up for a shortened season, broadcast executives have been told, posing challenges for networks who usually shift their programming away from hockey as the weather warms.
The regular season is set to end at the beginning of May, and the last playoff game could be played on June 25th under the scheduling being considered by the league. The late playoff run is particularly challenging for Rogers Media, which is fielding its most potentially competitive Toronto Blue Jays in years and will have trouble fitting both NHL games and baseball games onto its collection of sports channels.
I always enjoy reading Elliotte Friedman's thoughts. This is part of his intro to his "30 thoughts".
The media, the teams, the sponsors have all guessed at your willingness to re-embrace the league. The key word is "guess." We don't know, but we suspect that if your team is good, you're going to be back in a big, big way. If you're Canadian, quality of play is assumed to not matter.
Like many hockey reporters, I'm a big fan, too. Those of us camped out in Manhattan last week spent time staying warm in the NHL store adjacent to the league's offices. If you've ever been there, you know it's high-quality stuff.
Guaranteed, under normal circumstances, I buy something. This time, never considered it. There was too much of a distaste in my throat. Now that the lockout's over, I can't wait until our first Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.