Not to be KHL-obsessed, which I am, but a coach like Bob Hartley going to Russia means a full NHL coaching indoctrination for just about the entire league. Obviously, for the players Hartley is coaching, but also for the other coaches Hartley will coach against. That will make it that much easier for KHL players to come over to the NHL. They’ll be familiar with the NHL culture. And I’m sure Hartley will talk up the league, too. If you look at how American coaches made it that much easier for Japanese players to transition into the American game (especially the average players; the elite players like Ichiro and Hideki Matsui really didn’t need any help), you have to wonder if the NHL is turning cartwheels that one of their best coaches is going behind “enemy” lines.
You also have to wonder if Jaromir Jagr, who Hartley would be coaching, really missed an NHL-style coach and asked for his team to give him one.