Your opinion on Ilya Bryzgalov's trustworthiness may vary. The goaltender, known more for his quotes about the universe than his goaltending abilities, mentioned in an article on TSN.ca that he believes certain Russian players will remain in the KHL when the NHL returns from a lockout.
Does he have a solid argument or are these quotes ones we should roll our eyes at?
It's important to note that Bryzgalov isn't the first to discuss Russian players staying in the KHL after the lockout is over. Alex Ovechkin mentioned something similar, stating he might entertain the notion of staying if the situation called for it and that several of his fellow Russian players might join him.
Bryzgalov's statements make a lot of sense.
In the TSN.ca article he states:
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.
That might be the most coherent, logical thought we've ever heard out of Bryzgalov.
The idea of Russian players staying in the KHL isn't as far-fetched as you might think. The prestige and allure of the NHL has diminished significantly as the league enjoys its second lockout in nine seasons. Meanwhile, the KHL has built a competitive league that holds the ability to hand out massive contracts to its big stars while they skate on familiar ice.
However, while Bryzgalov's comments make a lot of sense, it's doubtful it will apply to a large segment or even a significant segment of Russian players. Brygzalov notes that there isn't enough money in the KHL to handsomely reward all of the Russian players that might elect to stay in the KHL but there is enough to persuade a few major stars – Ovechkin for example – to rethink their future.