Blog Entry

Closing in on Kovy

Posted on: August 30, 2010 1:27 pm

This story could never qualify as light summer fare because it has taken nearly the entire summer to get through. And it’s not quite over yet, although thankfully the final chapter of the Ilya Kovalchuk saga is in sight with the NHL reviewing his latest contract offer from the New Jersey Devils as Labor Day weekend approaches.

It’s the latest plot twist, resulting from a significant NHL victory a few weeks ago that came when an arbitrator upheld its rejection of Kovalchuk’s initial 17-year, $102 million offer from New Jersey. The arbitrator ruled the deal was a circumvention of the salary cap, forcing the summer’s most prized free agent and a team that gave up a lot to get him at the trade deadline to start over. And to find a way to make it all palatable to the league.

Apparently the NHL has provided a great deal of guidance along the way, which isn’t surprising since the league really wants them to work it out. No doubt it would have been just as well, maybe even better had Kovalchuk, one of the game’s most exciting players had gone to Hollywood to join the young and improving Los Angeles Kings. But the Kings couldn’t come to terms with him and having Kovalchuk stay in the Big Apple area isn’t a bad thing for the NHL.

Especially considering the alternative.

Truth is Kovalchuk’s salary expectations meant there were few suitors for his services as he hit the open market  July 1 in the prime of his career. But one that has remained constant has been Russia’s KHL, where the money is starting to speak loudly.
To this point, the KHL has been generally been able to raid the NHL of only aging veterans or second-tier Europeans, but signing Kovalchuk, even for only one season, would help legitimize the rival league and step up the competition for players. And that’s the last thing the NHL needs right now, especially in light of the challenges from overseas being championed these days by International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel.

The league has made its point about how unfavorably it looks at GMs and agents trying to play end-arounds on the salary cap with contract structures. Now it needs the Devils and Kovalchuk to work things out.

Meanwhile, one team to watch right now is the Edmonton Oilers as it borrows the ‘most interesting’ tag from that beer guy. This is going to be a pretty notable week for the Oilers because when it’s over, their No. 1 goalie could be in jail.  And their highest paid defenseman could be in the minors because that’s the only way to get rid of him.

The Oilers have been trying to trade disgruntled Sheldon Souray since the deadline, but for some reason haven’t been able to move an injury prone defenseman who has two years and $10.8 million left on an overvalued deal. Souray hasn’t helped matters by complaining openly and by restricting destinations with a no-trade clause.

It’s reminiscent of what Ottawa went through last summer before trading Dany Heatley. Souray doesn’t have nearly the same trade value, but he could be just as big a distraction if he’s still around when training camp opens and that’s why Edmonton is considering so waiving him and burying him as a the last resort.

The Oilers wont’ have to go that far with goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, at least not yet because he’ll be in jail when camp opens. Khabibullin faces a mandatory minimum 30 days in Phoenix when he sentenced Tuesday after being found guilty in a DUI case.

That stems from an incident last February when the one-time Coyote was near stopped speeding while having nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system.  Khabibulin was out for the season with a back injury after playing just 18 games for Edmonton. He signed a four-year, $15 million free agent contract with the Oilers last July.


Category: NHL

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:03 pm

Closing in on Kovy

This is not looking good for the Devils at all.  One thing I am learning throughout all of this amazing drama, is HOW WEAK THE NHLPA REALLY IS.   Deadline?  No Deadline.  Arbitrator?  --His opinion.  No Contract language sited as the REASON for the ruling.  G'nite NHL----Don't worry though-- Parise will be a RANGER SOON.

Since: Apr 8, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2010 1:18 pm

Closing in on Kovy

The correct figure, FYI is that 74% of all players on NHL rosters are born in the US or Canadawith 52+% of those from canada..there are more swedes then americans(not to bash,but to clarify :)  )..i agree though send the heartless ruskie home!  GO SENS!!!

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2010 1:58 am

Closing in on Kovy

Yea I agree with you there redwings1969, it will be the AHL-NHL all over again but worse with 25% of the league minor leaguers. That moron who says good riddance to the European players is definitely short sighted. If a nice lumpsum of good players leave for Europe the NHL will be in trouble. You gotta look at it this way, players only come to the US for the money, I lived in the US and Europe, who wouldnt pick living in London, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Munchen, Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, Amsterdam, Budapest, Dublin, Zurich over say Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, NY, LA, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, freaking Minnesote...these cities are cess pools lol, the forementioned Eurocities much better place to raise a family. Our American stars will be leaving to play in those places. Sorry i been to Detroit and grew up in Philly, disgusting compared to a major European city and chances of getting mugged and shot are minimal. Players are going to take a slightly lower pay cut for the rise in their quality of life. Seriously, who would want to play for say Nashville, Tennessee when you can get paid handsomely and can play in Italy and live in Rome. These will be the decisions that weigh the players and they are going to leave or never come over. i hope this never happens, I cant live without my hockey, but it is always a good possibility.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2010 1:43 am

Closing in on Kovy

GMACbuddy you fail

Why are you and everyone else dissing this player? He has played in only 9 playoff games and has 8 points, thats it 9 games. He has been on a crappy team most of his career and jumps onto the devils at the deadline.... he is an awesome player, oh so everyones mad that he didnt score lots of goals on the Flyers in the first round. Except the blackhawks no one scored goals on the Flyers in the eastern conference.... He is worth the money, he has been an amazing talent his whole career, consistent offensive player whom needs a little defensive help but with his firepower it overcomes. ATL was a crap team to blame him.  I wish he was on my Flyers!

Since: Jul 16, 2007
Posted on: August 31, 2010 11:16 pm

Closing in on Kovy

OK, I'm not the biggest hockey fan in the world (although I STILL know that Kovalchuk is a really, really good player).  But more than that, I know him to be a really, really good human being.  On his (Kovy's) birthday last year, he took the time to visit my dying nephew in the hospital, and spent the day hanging out, playing Connect-4, and playing the hospital's putt-putt course (with a hockey stick, of course).  Again, I don't follow hockey that intently, but I'm now a big Kovalchuk fan. 

This is from the Atlanta Thrashers website:

 Kovy Touches the Life of a Young Fan

A family friend to a young boy named Matthew, who is affiliated with the Brain Tumor Foundation, reached out to the Thrashers 3 weeks ago explaining how Matthew was invited to attend Kovy’s Krew event but couldn’t make it due to the severity of his illness. They expressed his disappointment for missing this event because of what a huge Ilya Kovalchuk and Thrashers fan Matthew is. Wanting to do something special for Matthew, Thrash made a surprise visit to his hospital room at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite on Thursday, April 2nd.

Kovy got word of this young boy who was such a big fan of his and touched by his story, decided he wanted to do more. On Tuesday, April 15th after one of Matthew’s scheduled weekly treatments, Kovy surprised him at Scottish Rite for a personal & intimate meet & greet. Kovy arrived with a game used stick & other goodies, which he signed and gave to Matthew. April 15th being Kovy’s birthday as well as his last day in the country before he headed to Russia, he took time out to spend over an hour hanging out, playing put-put and getting to know Matthew.

Since: Apr 30, 2010
Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:57 pm

Closing in on Kovy

One of the most ridiculous posts I've seen in a while.   By the way, who do you think shot JFK?

Since: Apr 30, 2010
Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:50 pm

Closing in on Kovy

Wes, you need an editor.  Needless to say, most of the meatheads that respond do too but you, I assume, are getting paid.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: August 31, 2010 4:01 pm

Closing in on Kovy

I agree that Kovalhcuk is not worth $102 million, but I've about had it with the present management that is destroying the NHL. It's like the league is trying to go out of business. Let's go through some of the league's more impressive feats: 1. The Union called off a season and came back to accept a worse deal than they were offered before calling off the season. Goodenow was then quickly launched; 2. The league expanded into markets like Carolina, Columbus, Atlanta, Florida (twice), Nashville and Dallas. Now there are waaaayyy too many teams and markets that should have teams, don't; 3. Decided to toss around NBA-type contracts without sufficient revenue to cover them. See: lockout. Now they have a militant hard cap that punishes good teams that are willing to spend and one; 4. Negotiated themselves off of ESPN and onto Versus. Way to cut off your nose to spite your face; 5. Approved contract for Hoosa, Hossa played under said deal, NHL now wants to go back and investigate what they already approved. See also: Pronger, Chris (although his deal is not yet in effect). Now they threw their weight around to the point that Kovalchuk might bail. Now they want to help the Devils structure a deal? WTF?!?!?!? So, let Kovalchuk - one of the league's biggest stars and most exciting players - bolt to Russia. Let the idiots that are murdering the NHL explain that one away.

Since: Aug 26, 2009
Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:16 pm

Closing in on Kovy

Good Riddance to European players

4 of the top 10 point scorers - non-North American
7 of the top 10 goalies (GAA) - non-North American

Yup, git that euro trash out of here! - I needs to see me some more Sean Avery shots on goal!  I needs to see me sum Leighton with a full season between the pip... sorry, I just threw up a little in my mouth there...

I suppose that 2009-10 season was an aberration for this kind of thing.  How frequently could a 24% demographic possibly take this many spots at the top of these lists?  Wait you might have a point!:

Only 4 of the top 10 goalies (GAA) in 2008-2009 were non-North American, but...

5 of the top ten scorers were non-North American (damm!)

Similar trends follow in the recent past.  Don't get me wrong, I love the sandpaper in the North American game, but I would like to see some exhibition of skill, and many european players deliver.  I'll gladly pay the price of admission to see Ovie, Kovy or Evgeni - ship them off to Russia, and I won't be able to attend nearly as many of their games.

little ceasars
Since: Jan 1, 2009
Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:01 pm
This comment has been removed.

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