“We’ve never had a final series like this!”, exclaimed KHL President Alexander Medvedev, drenched from head to foot with victory champagne in the Metallurg locker room. “Both teams were thinking primarily about how to score, and that’s why the fans saw eleven goals. It’s wonderful. Yes, goalies made mistakes, defensemen made mistakes, but we witnessed so many sublime combinations today. This is what makes hockey beautiful, when both teams play from the heart, from the soul. And this game showed that Russia’s hockey tradition lies not in defense but in offense, and that is where all the coaches should search for success. And I am very pleased that not only the first line players scored, but also those who hadn’t scored for some time, such as Evgeny Biryukov and Yaroslav Kosov.”

“What will be the lasting memories from this year’s final?” 

“Remember, not so long ago there were a few voices saying it was a bad thing having a non-Russian club in the final, but I’ve seen the ratings and it seems this series attracted the biggest ever TV audience, on both KHL-TV and on the free-to-air Russia 2 channel. The interest was colossal. Tens of millions of viewers watched some top-class hockey. It was not just a contest between two cities and two hockey schools, but between two great hockey nations, and a contest with such a high level of intrigue.”

“What are you expecting from next season?” 

“I hope it will be interesting and memorable, although I won’t deny that a number of clubs have severe financial problems. Today, at the KHL board meeting, we adopted the basic provisions of a three-year plan which we hope to agree with the Ministry of Sport. I spoke with the minister, Vitaly Mutko, and we discussed many of the most important issues. Now we need to decide how many games to have next season. We won’t touch the Eurotour windows, but it is possible that each team will play 59 or even 66 games next year. We need to have more action: it means more money for the clubs, more intrigue in the Championship and more spectators in the stands. We might return to the format where clubs have more back-to-back games against local rivals, for example, teams from Moscow and St. Petersburg, Moscow and Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, Ufa and Kazan…”

“Will there be any changes to the quota for foreign players?” 

“The clubs unanimously support strengthening the competition, but we must bear in mind the disappointing results at the Olympics. We will keep the limit of five foreign players per club. Russians who play for our non-Russian clubs will not be considered foreign, and these club rosters must include at least seven local players, including Russians. After two seasons, the minimum will be ten, including Russians, and this will open up more places for Russian players.”

“How many clubs will play in the next KHL Championship?” 

“We have approved three new applications to join the League - from Sochi, Helsinki and Togliatti - but it’s not all good news. First of all, the situation at Spartak is very bad. We decided today that the youth team must stay in the MHL. If the situation worsens, the KHL will provide some funding. We currently have five clubs in financial difficulty, and we decided today to give them a month to fulfill all their obligations.”

“Will the clubs be able to implement a 40% cut in players’ salaries?” 

“Our players are protected, but we must take into account factors arising from any reduced level of performance. A player who suffers a pay cut after a redraft can always turn to our seven-man commission for resolving contract disputes, which can make an objective decision. This decision will be final. By Monday, we will have signed a collective agreement with the players’ union.”
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