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KHL to provide home for NHLers for duration of potential lockout

Dmitry Chesnokov
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A few weeks ago my KHL source told me that the League was trying to work out how to accommodate a possible NHL lockout without making any groundbreaking changes to the League's regulations. There were a few KHL managers who didn't even want to make any concessions for the lockout. Other general managers expressed concerns regarding the potential for a damage to team chemistry because a player coming from the NHL for a short period of time would inevitably take a spot of someone who is on a permanent contract.

But the temptation of being the lucrative market for world's best hockey players to play hockey during the lockout is just too great. And today with the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier in town to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Summit Series and play two charity games, the KHL announced that it will make changes to their own rules. SovSport's Pavel Lysenkov passed on KHL President Alexander Medvedev's words:

First of all, any KHL team will be allowed to sign up to three players from the NHL for the duration of the possible lockout in the NHL. Of the three, one may be from any country other than Russia.

Furthermore, none of these "lockout-long" contracts would count towards the KHL salary cap, which is a "soft" cap to begin with.

At the same time, the KHL rule allowing only five non-Russian born players per team to be on the roster for any given game will remain. The rule only applies to teams based in Russia (the KHL is, after all, not only a Russian league).

With countries like Sweden no longer an option in Europe for NHL players, the KHL is trying to make itself more attractive to world stars. Medvedev also tries to play to NHL player's advantage. Asked whose side he is on in the current CBA dispute Medvedev said: "I talked a lot with the PA chief Donald Fehr, and he described the players' position to me. I think the League is trying to be too tough on players. And it is at least unfair."

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