...but only for 5-6 players high in the draft.
Larry Brooks (Aug. 15, 2008):
The Post has learned that Medvedev also informed Bettman that the KHL would hold a universal draft for the 2009-10 season that will include players currently under contract in the NHL. Medvedev told Bettman KHL clubs will offer signing bonuses of $1M to players who are playing in the NHL this season.
So who was right, Larry Brooks or John Glennon?
Andrei Kuznetsov from Sport-Express (Aug. 29, 2008) finally replies to Larry Brooks:
Some Russian Internet publications printed a statement by Medvedev, where he allegedly frightened his vis-à-vis Gary Bettman. The President of KHL, according to information from these sources, promised to lure the players from the overseas league [NHL], and guaranteed a signing bonus of 1 million dollars. It turned out Medvedev was quoted incorrectly, he was taking about the signing bonus for the players with high draft numbers [not for all players drafted - tj]. As it is known, the bigger NHL contracts are guaranteed to the first five or six young talents. Our league, who started the draft procedure, is entitled to do the same.
Ok, first of all, the 'Russian Internet publications' quoted Larry Brooks. Turned out Larry was right, there will be a signing bonus of 1 million, but only to the first 5-6 players.
And finally KHL.RU, Aug. 30, 2008, published their official statement today:
The Kontinental Hockey League strictly adhered to the unilaterally declared moratorium on signing of the hockey players with existing N.H.L. contracts. The N.H.L. violated earlier agreement reached in Zurich on August 28 and formally announced the signing of Andrei Loktionov and Vyacheslav Voynov by the Los Angeles Kings. These players have existing contracts with K.H.L. teams of Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) and Tractor (Chelyabinsk) respectively.
In connection with this K.H.L. considers itself free from any obligations to comply with the previously announced moratorium on singing the players. On September 6 there will be a meeting [with N.H.L.] at the headquarters of the International Hockey Federation in Zurich after which the Kontinental Hockey League will determine its further actions regarding the National Hockey League.
Kovalchuk was interviewed by Championat.ru during the exhibition game between Moscow Dynamo and CSKA. Here's what he said:
Hopefully KHL will be a good competitor for the NHL, a good alternative for our kids. To come to play here? If KHL proves that it is comparable to NHL, the players will return. And for our national team it will be very good. The level of young players will grow. After all, they will watch Yagr, Morozov, Radulov. The forthcoming season should get very interesting. I still have two years of my contract with Atlanta. And after that? We'll see...
And as I said before, looking back, what a brilliant brilliant move by Ted Leonsis to sign Ovechkin for 13 years.
Now we just need to hook him up with Miss America... :-)