For the third consecutive year Avanguard Omsk has outbid the Saint Louis Blues for the affections of Czech ice hockey player Vladimir Sobotka. Over the past two years the Blues have tried to cast Sobotka's choice to participate in the Kontinental Hockey League club Avanguard as a "development" move allowing Sobotka more playing time to hone his skills "back home"1 when the simple fact is they've been beat at the money game.
For decades the extravagant spending of the advertising industry in the United States allowed American spectator sports teams to enjoy their pick of top players from the international market, but as the United States continues to become concretely poorer in absolute terms decisions like Vladimir Sobotka's are likely to become more common among sportsmen.
Omsk is in Siberia which is not Sobotka's temperate Czech homeland. Siberia is inside Russia, and Russia is far enough from the Czech Republic that the two separate countries do not share any borders. ↩