The NHL lockout could force some Russian-born players to stay and play in the Kontinental Hockey League, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov told a Russian interviewer earlier this week. Bryzgalov, who's currently playing with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, said players may not return to the NHL even if a new collective bargaining agreement is reached and the lockout is lifted.
"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.
Already, the NHL has cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season because of the lockout. So far, there has been no movement on the owners and players agreeing how to split up $3 billion worth of revenue. The owners would like to reduce the players' share of the revenues, limit contract terms, eliminate salary arbitration and change free agency rules, while the players want increased revenue sharing between owners and a fixed salary cap that is not linked to league revenues.
In Bryzgalov's opinion, this problem was created by the owners.
"(NHL) owners...they create this situation and they put themselves into this situation," explained Bryzgalov. "Like I said before, they have to take responsibility for their own actions.
"If you watch what they did consistently, like saying: 'It's going to be (a) lockout. We're not happy with the system, we can't operate with the system that we had'...and (yet) they continued to sign the players during the negotiation process, signing the players to long-term contracts for big amounts."
The Flyers' first regular season game is scheduled for Oct. 25 at the Montreal Canadiens.