KHL after 10 seasons: Your review

Discussion in 'The KHL' started by alko, May 11, 2018.

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  1. alko

    alko Registered User

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    What went wrong? What went perfect? Are you satisfied with how is it running?

    10 seasons are behind us. There were moments, that were heartbreaking (Death of Alexei Cherepanov, Lokomotiv plane crash), laughable (Nadezda Cup, expansion ideas), positive (second best league in World), negative (Junior draft).
     
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  2. Exarz

    Exarz Registered User

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    A lot has happened during the ten seasons the league has run, both politically, economically and quality wise. It's still not perfect but it's on the right track at least. The Crimea crisis and the somewhat economic collapse was probably the best thing that could happen this league in the long run, as they finally had to realize that they need to start running things as a business.

    We've also seen a lot of teams come and go.
    • MVD, Atlant, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, Khimik all left.
    • Medvescak, Donbass and Yugra both came and went. Lev Poprad joined, became Lev Prague, lost game 7 in the Gagarin Cup finals and ceased to exist.
    • Spartak disappeared and returned. Lada disappeared, returned and disappeared again.
    • Jokerit, Admiral, Sochi, Kunlun and Slovan have all joined
    15 teams have either joined or left during these ten seasons.

    Finally, after 9-10 seasons, the KHL seems to become more stable to finally work on creating revenue, getting better TV deals etc. We'll see what lays in front of us for the upcoming seasons. Which teams will join? Which teams will go? Will it become a more Soviet league? What kind of teams will join the league? Only time can tell, but with the amount of thing that happened during these years it's impossible to predict.
     
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  3. vorky

    vorky @vorkywh24

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    Agree with @Exarz about Crimea crisis and the KHL´s development.

    The most positive thing is the Memorandum with the NHL & lauching of the MHL.

    The league has done a lot of work with broadcasting quality, still not ideal, but much better than 2008. Overal product of the league has developed so much.

    The economy of the league is on good path, clubs are joining the process as well.
     
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  4. Rigafan

    Rigafan Registered User

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    I think that outsiders (them North American journalist looking for that hot, exotic story) need to remember that the KHL is still only 10 years old, while the NHL and most others are 100 or so!

    I'm enjoying it, I also agree with Exarz, there has been ups and downs.

    I'd like to see the league deal with compeitive balance but without sacrificing teams that are being managed well. Its not SKAs fault they have a marketing department for example. Also to sort out the expansion plans. Are we going with Asian division and Kunlun are a serious topic? Or are we going to EU for established teams? Or rather invest in the Russian teams. Whatever it maybe!

    The thing I'd like the most is for the league to understand it is quite international now so they need to appeal more to that. English commentary? Even on select big games would be nice (hell even German or French whatever)
     
  5. SoundAndFury

    SoundAndFury Registered User

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    Not going into details very deeply, to me there were 3 stages of the KHL:

    1) a very exciting beginning. Jagr, Demitra, Radulov etc. coming back to play, big names, big signings. Every team had their star more or less, even Riga had Hossa who led the league in goals.
    2) high point of the league with Donbass, Lev, Riga, Barys, Slovan, Minsk, Medvescak all being in the league and all having a certain own flavor
    3) steady decline. Non-Russian teams start to really struggle, small market Russian teams struggling as well creating huge separation between them and the powerhouses

    Since I care about hockey more than HD cameras there were really very few positives last few years. The league needs to act to change the current ridiculous situation and get into stage 4 of some kind but it remains to be seen when that happens.
     
  6. Alessandro Seren Rosso

    Alessandro Seren Rosso Registered User

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    From one hand, the league is now miles ahead of what it was during the first few seasons. It's mostly "under-the-hood" improvements, but some little steps that made the KHL a much better league as a whole. The league is well attended, as a whole is a good product and some teams are top notch, in a higher way than they were earlier on, even if on the old RSL days teams were good already.
    On the other hand, the latest couple of years showed a situation that we can definite with an economical term, something like "stagflation". As SoundAndFury said, unfortunately the foreigner teams stopped being relevant, excluding Jokerit and, sometimes, Barys (not this season and I doubt the next one either). The situation with CSKA and SKA is killing the league and by the looks of the IIHF WC isn't going anywhere better, if Byvaltsev is there only because he joined SKA and Mikheyev and Soshnikov all they are doing is to get scouted by SKA in sight of a potential signing. Also, the economic lookout isn't positive, with the ruble still declining, it's hard to get big-name foreign players, and those who get signed will just go to 4-5 teams. The situation will be addressed and we'll see if the salary cap will do it. Too bad that we'll have to wait another two seasons at least.
     
  7. Alessandro Seren Rosso

    Alessandro Seren Rosso Registered User

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    This is absolutely true, but measures need to be taken at league-wide level to address the unnatural situation that was created with SKA and CSKA.
     
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  8. Alessandro Seren Rosso

    Alessandro Seren Rosso Registered User

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    To be frank, I am not sure about the MHL. The league right now is quite low-level, there are too many teams, players are too young. Only the playoffs are at a decent level, and that's because the KHL players get demoted and can raise the bar.
    Of course, having every year most of the best 25 players moving overseas doesn't help.
     
  9. vorky

    vorky @vorkywh24

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    I mean the launching of the MHL. You know what was situation of Russian junior hockey league´s structure before the MHL. If I know, there was no national top tier junior league, prospects playing 3rd senior league. The MHL was criticised for too old players at the beginning, now is too young ....

    Of course, prospects moving abroad is a problem. Btw, reportedly the FHR & the KHL has made an agreement on new agents rules. The annual fee was raised 10-times from 50k to 500k.
     
  10. hansomreiste

    hansomreiste Registered User

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    Most people in this board know how much I love Russia and its hockey product in a very emotional and fiery way. Even when I'm extremely angry and upset about the league, it's only because I love it very much and hate the idea of losing what I deem one of the important pieces of my life. For this reason, regardless of how much I criticize KHL, I'm extremely happy that it exists. It is obviously the second best league in the world and will remain so for a foreseeable future. However, in recent years, I've been watching fewer and fewer games and my main concerns for, let's say, 2013-2023 period are,

    * Broadcasting and marketing is a big issue unless you live in Russia. For many years, laola1.tv streamed hundreds of games every year... till 2017/18 season. For some reason, official KHL service doesn't work for me - tried it with several different laptops and networks yet it somehow manages to lag and buffer all the time. I can easily watch HD streams with my current connections but not official KHL stream at SD. So long story short, watching KHL requires a lot of effort (at least for me, dunno how the situation is in Europe or other countries) and most of the time is simply impossible.

    * The gap between top and other teams is worrying. I don't know the root cause of this but the growth of the league benefits top teams only and this is a serious issue requiring to be addressed. Some people criticized me for whining too much about SKA when Ak Bars won but the problem is big and it is still there: KHL needs more than two or three competitive teams and honestly it is not that impressive for Ak Bars to win; you'd be right if it was Avangard, Avtomobilist or Lokomotiv. When you can tell the top three or four teams that'll make the conference finals, it takes a lot of fun from the game. I'm not necessarily saying that 12 teams should be competing for the title. I just want the possibility of Sochi knocking out SKA existing.

    * KHL is still a young league and it's OK to experiment for a while to find the right balance with the expansion but I feel like the league is lacking guidance and path on this. There seems to be uncertainty and half measures. Where do we go from here? Expand westwards or eastwards? How will it pan out? Are there concrete plans or are we just testing the waters and just "see what happens next"? Kunlun joined and for me, made nothing interesting: no Chinese players, no fans, no new "flavour" as SoundAndFury states. For now, this might be partly acceptable... The question is: are there plans to make Kunlun an actual, real hockey team from China? How much progress have been made so far and what are the plans going forward? Questions like that need answers and proper plans not only for Kunlun but expansion projects in general.

    * Well, this is not KHL's fault but the Russian reality is catching up with the organization. Economy is not good and most institutions are not reliable. I'm pretty sure that there are people who want a more balanced, stronger KHL in board yet at the same time they are more powerful people with influence who wishes to do something else, i.e stripping all teams of their stars for the sake of Russian NT and SKA.

    Once these problems have been solved and the league has created an identity, pretty much everything will be perfect for me. Until then, I think it will be just a "good league" mainly because of the high quality of players, but not the most competitive and entertaining one from a hockey fan perspective. I mean, KHL may be better, but at this moment I prefer watching SHL play-off rather than KHL, mainly because the attendance is fantastic, teams are balanced and it's an actual "competition". When teams get swept in SHL, you know it is a surprise. Or when a higher seeded team leads the series 2-0, you always know there is a chance for the other team. This is not the case for KHL. Quality is high but so is discrepancy.

    Since I study Russian philology, there is no possible way for me stop watching Admiral or Amur while having a breakfast or not talking to my lecturers about how SKA or Avangard has been doing recently. As I said, good or bad, this league is a part of my life; but KHL at its current shape is not good enough for me. It can definitely get better. I'm not asking it to become NHL or best hockey league to have ever existed. I just want it to fullfil its potential, nothing more.
     
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  11. Alessandro Seren Rosso

    Alessandro Seren Rosso Registered User

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    SHL attendance is fantastic? KHL's is better, especially if we consider that Kunlun really dragged it down the average numbers, and that Dinamo Minsk alone if they get a team up in the standings can blow it even higher
     
  12. Jussi

    Jussi Registered User

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    I assume he means arenas are filled to capacity at better percentage, regular season and playoffs.
     
  13. vorky

    vorky @vorkywh24

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    I will add a data collected here.

    The KHL´s average attendance (17/18 RS) was 6232. Total 14 of 27 sides had higher attendance than league´s average, so 52%. If we cut the best/worst attended teams, we get 6155. If we count top 12 clubs, we get 8245.

    The SHL´s average attendance was 5669. Total 6 (including LHC with just +20 above average) of 14 sides with higher attendance than league´s average, so 43% (if counting 5 over average, so get 36%). If we cut the best/worst attended teams, we get 5512. If we count top 12 clubs, we get 5978.

    Last 5 seasons

    2017/18, KHL 6232, SHL 5669
    2016/17, KHL 6121, SHL 5707
    2015/16, KHL 6303, SHL 5849
    2014/15, KHL 6324, SHL 6036
    2013/14, KHL 5812, SHL 5978

    Per the KHL website, the KHL´s attendance in 2013/14 & 14/15 was higher than the IIHF´s numbers. So 6080 in 13/14 & 6423 following season. The 14/15 is the best attended KHL RS, the season´s schedule was arranged with maximum amount of intra-division/conference games.

    The SHL expanded with 2 teams prior to the 15/16. The attendence has been decreasing since this season.

    Perhaps the SHL is more balanced but as Medvedev says, "do you want the KHL as equally poor league or the league with top clubs?" Yes, disparity in the KHL is not good for the league´s development, but better than to have 20/24/27 Yugra´s without ambitions (& resources) to grow.

    All of you showed that the shift towards the SKA-issue (& struggle of non-Russian teams) started with the Crimea crisis. Why? Because of the stability of the finance sources, SKA/CSKA has stable financing, Russian regional teams do not, the same non-Russian sides. The crisis showed this issue, therefore the disparity skyrocked. The rules (salary cap, hidden loans, etc) was even stricter before the crisis. So, the main problem is not with rules. Again, regional R teams have not stable source of financing, so they need to fill the budget by selling Byvaltsev´s to clubs with stable financing.
     
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  14. SoundAndFury

    SoundAndFury Registered User

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    :facepalm:

    Not this again. I remember arguing with vorky about this like 6 years ago, it was "why are Swedish arenas so small", that time. The average KHL town is at least 5 times bigger than the average SHL town. So this attendance "advantage" is actually rather pathetic and just shows how much of underdeveloped project KHL is in comparison.
     
  15. vorky

    vorky @vorkywh24

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    I showed that the SHL attendance has been decreasing for last decade. You know, the SHL averaging 6385 spectators in 2011/12, current season was below 6000. That is a difference cca 400-500 people per game (before the expansion). As outsider, one reason for it is an absence of better attended teams who are now in lower leagues.

    To come back to the KHL. The league started with the average attendance of 5100. Today is around 6200. Sure, the increase is due to bigger arenas as well. And that is the point, the league has made a big step since 2008. Since the founding we have 6 new arenas above 10k (including Slovan/Jokerit) and planning of 3 such arenas (VTB almost ready, Avto, Sibir), next in line SKA, of course CSKA/Torpedo will need to do something with old arenas. The KRS planning new arena as well, hope they will not go under 10-12k. To sum it up, 7 new bigger arenas within 10 years is rather impressive. If counting Avto/Sibir which will be build within 2-4 years, it is 9. Not bad if your league has 24 sides.

    Looking at the future, Avtomobilist is going to be a top team. Why? Because of stable financing. I guess Admiral will change the ownership sooner than later.
     
  16. tsamolotoff

    tsamolotoff Registered User

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    Not sure if I posted this anywhere, since it's the thoughts I had for a very long time. In the beginning, the league looked like a fey, but promising dream - we had 7-8 contenders who seriously aimed at the Cup (Dynamo, Salavat, Lokomotiv, Ak Bars, Atlant, Mmg and even Avangard in the first season, same for the next 3 or 4), at least one star in each team, less defensive hockey (although I have nothing against 1-3-1 or 1-2-2, it's how the finals are won), less officiating and 'off the rink' problems like we do now. For me, 2014 was the turning point - after Lev almost made it to the Gagarin Cup, someone decided that league is too open and even-fielded and started to push the 'national team' franchise (s) idea.


    In the subsequent years, basically all teams, except Ak Bars and Magnitka, were despoiled and scoured of all notable talents. Yes, it may be pleasing to watch SKA play (although I have no idea who enjoys 'бей/беги' playstyle of the other monster, but it does not prepare the skaters or goalies, as one of the experts put it during the finals, to play at their 110% or even 140% during the all-important games in the playoffs or on the international tournaments. In other words, (C) SKA have it too easy in the regular season and they have no need to push for the win because they either outclass most of their opponents or they give up before the game (like Avtomobilist did this year, their head coach was quite open about that) to conserve strength for the more important (and more winnable) games ahead. Furthermore, Znaroks said that 'it was the first serious game' after the 2-3OT loss against Ak Bars, which shows how SKA leadership looks at the other part of the league.


    I personally hoped that the (faux) Olympics win would make them go down on the insanity, but it seems it'd be other way around. Considering the rumours around Tatneft, this might be the last Cup for our white cats in foreseeable future. Maybe this World Cup (and our loss) clear the heads of the Rotenbergs and their cronies a bit (Some (quite unreliable though) people claimed that Svenchnikov and Khovanov (both from AB) refused to go to the U18 because Rotenbergs removed Denisenko from the roster after he dared to hit holy OAR 'warrior' in the playoffs)
     
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  17. vorky

    vorky @vorkywh24

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    CSKA solved. Next five years at Park Legend (12k) for CSKA, that means sharing with Spartak. Dynamo expected to move to their new arena.
     

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