Euro Tournaments Create Problems for KHL Clubs and National Teams

Due to changes in the 2014-2015 KHL calendar, it was pretty clear that there won’t be any breaks for the national tournaments. At first it seemed like a good idea, until KHL Chairman Alexander Medvedev announced that the KHL will not block players from heading to their national teams to compete and get ready for IIHF’s 2015 World Championships, which now has caused hysteria.

The biggest fail of the year could be Medvedev’s decision to not have a break (or at least he should have blocked KHL’s players from playing) and you might wonder, why isn’t he doing that?

The explanation isn’t to be found easily, but common sense brings people back to the days when the KHL was about to be formed in search of an answer.

The KHL really was a project to make sure team Russia was prepared for the Sochi Olympics, where they had to win the gold medals. Of course the idea went down like a shipwreck and now, after some team changes, the KHL has another task: they need to make sure Team Russia is ready for the next winter Olympics, and no doubt Russia has already started working.

Russian national team head coach Olegs Znaroks has worked like a beast during this season, scouting the best possible candidates for his roster (25 players are from the KHL, which obviously is the leader in clubs that players represent, while only two are non-KHL players). Happy days for Russia you say? Obviously not.

The national team staff and the Russian Hockey Federaton can celebrate, while clubs are really unhappy and questioning the KHL’s decision. They obviously do not want to play for about week and a half without their leaders, and what if someone gets injured? That would really cause a major conflict, but then again, maybe it wouldn’t because the KHL was meant to be a huge training facility for Russian players.

While Russian teams are screaming about how they don’t want to lose their leaders for the few games they will be forced to play without them, another head coach has said that he is upset he won’t get anything from the KHL.

Vladimir Vujtek, head coach of Team Slovakia, has been extremely upset that the league has refused to let players of Bratislava Slovan join the national team, even after the league said that there wouldn’t be any problems with KHL players joining national teams.  The coach has stated that he cannot count on them anymore and has to rebuild his team from scratch.

He wanted to see Milan Jurcina, Marcel Hossa, Marcel Hascak, and many others with the team, but now his plans are ruined, and he must rebuild a few weeks before the European tournaments start. Even goalies like Jan Laco and Jaroslav Janus would have made a huge impact, yet they won’t be able to help the team.

Who gains from Slovakia not being around? Russia isn’t the main one, well not directly, but it is doubtful the Eurocup could affect Team Slovakia’s chances in the World Championships or even the Olympics. Of course playing in these tournaments in November and February could help the team to move up in standings, but those are not crucial points, so Slovakia should really focus on the World Championships right now.

It seems that Sweden and Switzerland don’t have those kinds of problems. The Swiss will have their whole roster from the NLA, and Sweden is just being Sweden, even the KHL couldn’t stop them from getting players they want.

Imagine if Slovakia has problems, what could happen to countries like Latvia? Their best players, including Kaspers Daugavins, Janus Sprukts, Arturs Kulda and Oskars Bartulis, are in the KHL. Latvians can only hope that the league won’t put its feet between the doors, or else things might get pretty ugly around there.

The rules of the game should be the same for everyone, unless the one who sets them truly wants to gain some kind of an advantage. Some people get what they want, but of course dogs are barking after them. Then there are the teams who don’t get anything and yet they have to survive, what will happen to them? We will see soon enough.

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