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Sergei Kostitsyn hopes NHL season is canceled; are you tired of European player threats?

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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If you think you're tired of the NHL lockout, then you haven't heard Sergei Kostitsyn lament the work stoppage.

The thirty-seventh day of the work stoppage has pushed our hockey hero to the brink, to where he's praying that the season is canceled so he can stop worrying about the lockout and love the KHL.

Via Reuters, here is Sergei Kostitsyn on the NHL lockout:

"Let's put it this way - it would be better (for the players) if the lockout continues," Kostitsyn was quoted as saying by Russian daily Sport-Express on Monday.

"Players want a definite answer. If the NHL season is lost - let it be that way. I would then play in Russia for the whole season."

It's that kind of sincere dedication to the National Hockey League that's made Sergei Kostitsyn a star. Or the younger, marginally more talented sibling of an inconsequential forward who may have had ties to organized crime. One of the two.

Not to get all Donald F. Cherry here, but is anyone else getting a little tired of this stuff from European players?

Ilya Bryzgalov of the Philadelphia Flyers, on Oct. 6:

"I think some of the players may not return to the NHL because you have everything here and major companies are going to pay the top players here big money. And, especially for Russians players who can play at home in front of their own fans and families and [earn] even bigger money than they have in the National Hockey League," said Bryzgalov.

"The KHL can't feed all the players, but for some big players - especially those with Russian passports - it might be a threat."

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, on Oct. 20:

Q. If the negotiations between you and the league will not lead to compromise, can you see yourself continuing your career in Russia? Is it possible/doable in a legal perspective?

"I think yes. If my contract will be cut down greatly, it would be possible to annul it through the court."

So what is this? Posturing? Copycat complaints among comrades? Actual, to-be-taken-seriously threats?

When you hear players in North America talk tough on the lockout, it's usually in the context of outrage against the owners (increasingly) or Gary Bettman (emphatically). It's rarely in an "[expletive] this League, I'm making my money elsewhere" way. Even a guy like Joe Thornton, playing in Switzerland, is more mournful about losing a season than anything else; it's not like he and Rick Nash are talking about annulling their contracts if the NHL takes a chunk.

I don't know … maybe this kind of thing is expected in a labor war, and maybe it's just hollow verbiage from frustrated players. But there's just something off-putting about these players being so willing to spurn the League, their teammates and their North American fans to prove a point.

This is especially true in Ovechkin's case, being that his global star status is directly attributable to the National Hockey League. Otherwise, he's Sergei Mozyakin. Who? The KHL's all-time leading goal scorer. Exactly: Who?

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