Stars of all nationalities sell the league Matteau. I agree in that the NHL will survive, but this is the first time that, if you consider MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL the four "big" North American sports leagues, that another league in the KHL is actually becoming a thorn in the side of one of them. Kovy is really kind of a first...there's international stars in the other leagues, but they all want to come play in the North American leagues. Some of the top Japanese baseball players want to come HERE if so inclined (US ballplayers that couldn't cut it in MLB go over there, almost as a last resort). There's very nice money to be made in European basketball leagues, but their top players want to play in the NBA, and our top NBA players don't want to go there...same as some ballplayers who go to Japan, some fringe or lesser NBA players go to those leagues and play better (with more playing time) against the lesser competition for more dollars than they would get here.
I think when it comes to star players we're willing to pay to see, I don't think we really care where they come from. It doesn't matter that Kovy is Russian; it matters that he was a dynamic player that was well-known throughout the league and helped sell tickets. It's a loss.