Putin's Leadership Is Killing the KHL

Published on 19-Dec-2014 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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Putin's Leadership Is Killing the KHL

Last winter, there wasn't much doubt that hockey was the tail wagging the Sochi Olympics dog.

Because hockey is the manliest of man-sports, and Vladimir Putin is the manliest of men.

So not winning a medal -- much less a gold -- was not cool.

Just like stopping Putin's manly-man exploits are not cool, as the future-loving players on the other team would no doubt attest:

Yessiree, don't mess with this dude.

And when a manly man wants to put the Sochi hockey failure out of his manly mind and re-affirm to his peeps that Mother Russia is still the boss on his watch, what better way to do it than grabbing Crimea?

Perhaps the news world's version of WWE in all its stage-managed glory admires Putin's style, but there's another group that most likely agrees with Jon Stewart.

That would be the Kontinental Hockey League. The KHL. Putin's projected long-term challenge to the NHL.

But here it is, only a few seasons later, and the manly-man's recent actions have put his beloved the KHL in serious jeopardy. They can't do much if the local currency is in a free fall.

KHL financial issues

Seems like Jokerit picked the wrong time to jump to a bigger stage, although the KHL's Helsinki outpost is in no danger iteself of folding.

Unlike North American franchises, the KHL's business model is right out of the Middle Ages. Teams are basically billionaires' baubles, serving at best as PR vehicles. Thus, a collapsing currency will force many of these oligarchs to re-assess their need for such luxuries, and a league contraction is certain to occur.

With foreign players and domestic fans both deserting due to the ruble's decline, the KHL is becoming a bellwether of how thoroughly Putin's act has trashed this nation of virtually unlimited resources. And what's scary is the worst is yet to come.

Almost as scary as a 61-year-old faux hockey player stage-managing goals and passing them off as reality.

Click on a photo to enlarge.