Alexander Burmistrov Should be in the KHL

Harry How - Getty Images

Despite his interest to play for Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, Alexander Burmistrov will accept his assignment to St. John's.

Typically, I like to let my thoughts baste in their own creative juices for a while before acting on them. Because hey, what with the explosion of Twitter, who likes current news anyway? Certainly none of you. It's my mentality that news is meant to be enjoyed similar to a fine whiskey or a strong cheddar cheese -- aged appropriately. But I digress.

In all honestly, a blend of illness and the daily tribulations of real life have got in my way of expressing to you an important truth you all need to know:

That Alexander Burmistrov should be playing in the KHL right now.

Generally, I reserve a "team first" mentality. You know, do what the team needs you to do and so forth. And that's all well and good when Burmistrov is being asked to play a third-line role for the Jets, or when called upon to be a valuable asset to the team's penalty kill. The same cannot be said in this situation.

Because Alexander Burmistrov is doing a little more than just "taking one for the team". He's taking millions for the team. Burmistrov is leaving fat stacks of high society on the table to play for the farm team of an organazation that currently thinks he doesn't deserve the cheques he's been cashing.

And that's wrong.

The Winnipeg Jets are asking Burmistrov to play out the final year of his entry level contract on a team that will only pay him $67,000.00 for the season, or rather, the equivalent of Monopoly money.

"Sorry Alexander, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00".

For example, Alex Ovechkin signed for just short of six million dollars, joining Dynamo Moscow earlier this month. This is because the KHL has imposed a rule in which NHLers can make no more than 65% of their current contracts. That means Burmistrov would be eligible make $585,000.00 in salary, which is more than eight times what he stands to make in the AHL.

That is a lot of borscht.

Thankfully, I'm not the only one upset about this injustice. It seems that Burmistrov himself is not too happy about the thought of playing in the AHL either, though he is understanding of the situation being presented to him.

From the Winnipeg Free Press:

"That's the team's choice. They decided they wanted to do that, so I have to do it. I will go there and play hockey. If I had the chance it would be nice to play there (Ak-Bars Kazan). I know the coaches, I played there the first time. But (playing in St. John's) is what I have to do. It was a decision we made together so that's fine."

Now let's get one thing cleared up before we continue; as noted by Pierre Lebrun, the KHL will likely honour NHL contractual obligations should the lockout not erase the entire season. And should the KHL not want to get tied up in a lengthy court battle -- which they won't since Medvedev will have made serious rubles off of Ovechkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and Malkin already -- NHL players that started the year in the KHL will be granted early leave from their Russian contracts.

For now, rather than make significantly more money to play on his home team of Kazan, Burmistrov will have the luxury of traveling the small towns that line the eastern seaboard while risking injury in the process. And the kicker is that he's taking the teams' advice despite their belief that he's overpaid and is due a financial rollback.

And to say that the AHL will be better for his development is a complete fallacy. Some of the worlds' greatest talent currently resides in the KHL until the labour dispute is settled. There is by far a better chance for him to improve his game in Russia than what will be afforded to him in St. John's.

One would hope that in the event the lockout does eat up another entire NHL season, Jets' brass will grant him the opportunity to go home and play for Ak Bars where he can make a little money plying his craft. At the very least, he can recuperate some of the money the owners are undoubtedly going to shake from his pockets once this CBA battle is through.

If the lockout does completely demolish the 2012-13 season and Burmistrov is granted permission to play in the KHL past December, then what is there to be gained from a two month stint in the AHL?

Words can't express how poorly TNSE has handled this situation. Here's hoping it doesn't effect Burmistrov's relationship with the franchise going forward.

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