Monday, June 12, 2006

Russia, Testing, and Playoffs

I would talk about Game Three, but I'll let you check out James Mirtle or Captain Bosh for that one. There's only so much you can say before it gets very diluted and you start hearing the same thing over and over.

There is one issue I'd love to talk about and that's the NHL revelation that out of the 1,406 players tested through the year, none of them came up with a positive drug test, and if you listen hard enough you can hear Gary Bettman doing his victory dance in-front of a Dick Pound picture. Of course, this is great news for the NHL who wanted to show they have a clean thing going, but of course there are going to be some cynics in the mix, but it won't deter them.

The one thing hanging over the head of the NHL's testing is that they don't do it in the off-season when the training and condition is probably going to be the hardest for guys to stay in game shape and all that. I don't think it would be the worst thing, but I also see where the NHL is coming from, in the fact that as long as they are clean through the season then there's no harm, no foul.

What will happen in the future?? Who knows, but at least for the first year, the NHL is coming up with a clean slate.

The next thing I wanted to touch on is the possible Russian Ice Hockey Federation and NHL contract, which basically will end the bickering between NHL clubs with Russian prospects and the Russian clubs who want probably more than market value for that player. Not surprising, as Vladislav Tretiak is now head of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation after years of being an NHL goaltending coach for the Chicago Blackhawks.

More importantly, this could bring back the NHL/RHL Super Series that happened in the early 90's.

The Super Series don't only allow NHL fans see how their team stacks up against a Russian club team, but it also gives the NHL front offices and chance to see how good those guys are. Because of some of the Super Series games, it allowed players like Viacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov to come over and play in the NHL.

Whenever teams can evaluate themselves against some of the best players not in the NHL, it's a great test and show for players, coaches, and fans alike.

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