Puck Daddy - NHL

Buried at the bottom of a KHL press release, that dealt mostly with the Alexander Radulov/IIHF flap and the formation of a Russian "youth league" farm system for 17 to 20 year olds, was this info about the new league's television deal:

The Board of Directors also announced the signing of a broadcast agreement with the Sport TV-channel for the coverage of the Kontinental Hockey League Championship. Sport TV is the only free sports broadcast television station in Russia, with approximately 2.5 million viewers. Sport TV can also be seen on RTR Planeta outside Russia and can be found online at sportbox.ru.

RTR Planeta will carry what amounts to the Stanley Cup finals of the KHL, whatever format that championship round takes on. This is a huge deal for the first-year League according to spokesman Shaun McBride, because "from how it has been explained there is an expectation that the KHL Championship will enjoy the benefits of RTR Planeta's distribution."

Which means U.S. hockey fans will have a chance to watch the KHL championship next season. Sort of.

RTR Planeta has been, or is being, picked up by domestic digital cable operators like Verizon FiOS, where it will become one of those channels in the high 400s you skip over while flipping to the HD feeds. (Please note that, as of now, it's possible that a first-year Russian hockey league will appear on FiOS before the NHL Network and Center Ice do.) It's also available on DirectTV for $14.99 a month. Of course, with the KHL's contract with Sport TV, even more coverage of the League will be available online -- including from RTR Planeta.

So it's not convenient or, in satellite's case, cost-efficient, but the KHL's championship round will be available in your living room.

This really shouldn't be of any concern to the NHL, because the accessibility to KHL hockey for American viewers makes Versus look like NBC; and because the broadcasts will be completely in Russian, rather than delightful "is moose and squirrel!" Russo/English. But what if the KHL ever makes a deal with, say, Fox Sports and slaps on a pair of English-language announcers calling games from a TV set in Connecticut?

At the very least, it'd be another TV to keep on eye on at the local soccer pub.

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