The KHL decided to pull the plug moving to cancel the 2020 Gagarin Cup meaning Montreal Canadiens prospect Alexander Romanov gets an early break as well.
It was a matter of time before the KHL decided to cancel the rest of its 2019-20 season. The league went on a hiatus after the completion of the first round of the 2020 Gagarin Cup in order to reschedule games for the second round, which included Russian teams. Montreal Canadiens prospect Alexander Romanov and his CSKA Moscow squad were waiting for their next challenge after sweeping Torpedo, but that challenge will go undecided with the recent news.
The KHL is making the right decision. Before their pause, they were the only remaining large-scale professional hockey league in action with the NHL and SHL, to name a few already shutting down. Areas in Europe are beginning to really feel the impact of COVID-19, and with the travel that comes with Gargarin Cup playoff hockey, the risk was far too great.
There is a difference here. The NHL is still on a pause, while these other leagues, now including the KHL, have completely said their season is cancelled.
It’s a bittersweet reality for those players, especially for the team who felt they could bring home the championship. Romanov’s CSKA Moscow dominated the regular season and looked as if they might be able to see back-to-back championship victories.
CSKA lost to Andrei Markov and the Ak Bars Kazan in 2018 but won the championship the year after defeating Avangard Omsk in four games. Romanov was seldom used in that first Cup victory, and even though his ice time took a hit from games one to four in the first round, perhaps this would’ve been the year he contributes more often on a playoff roster.
But we’ll never know.
An important question here comes for the Montreal Canadiens. Could the early axing of the KHL season impact Alexander Romanov’s decision to come overseas for the 2019-20 season?
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Who knows, perhaps things are already unofficially set with a contract. But if Romanov has feelings of “unfinished business” in the KHL, it could push that eventual NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens back further.