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KHL team SKA St. Petersburg attempts to re-enter the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes

Aug 11, 2010, 10:00 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for russiakovalchuk.jpgThere’s no telling how interested Ilya Kovalchuk would be in playing for the KHL, but that didn’t stop the deep-pocketed SKA St. Petersburg club from renewing their interest in the star sniper.

Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the team got in touch with Kovalchuk’s Russian agent Yuri Nikolaev soon after word got out that the NHL’s decision to reject his 17-year, $102 million contract was upheld. Here is what Nikolaev said to Chesnokov regarding the KHL team’s new (or perhaps old?) offer.

What options did [the club] offer?

“Everything is up to Ilya: anything from one to eight years. I like the fact that SKA is holding the solid position they took from the very beginning of the negotiations. Regardless of what is going on in America. I like how the team management is acting in this negotiation process. They are very straight. No one is trying to blackmail us. There is a position — ‘it’s your choice.’ If we want to change something, that’s fine to [change] it either way. It’s very flexible and right.”

While I wouldn’t be shocked if Kovalchuk & Co. were using the KHL simply to improve his “bargaining power,” it never hurts to take a look at every option possible. While the rival Russian league does have a salary cap of its own, the article points out that exceeding it would simply force SKA St. Petersburg to pay a luxury tax (something the NHL should consider instituting if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t end the hockey world as we know it).

This Kovalchuk story has more legs than a dog pound and – even if many of the details seem tedious or even redundant – we will keep you up to date with the latest news, statements and scuttlebutt.

  1. StakeX - Aug 12, 2010 at 12:59 AM

    I wouldn’t be supprised to see Kovalchuk end up in Russia. Fact of the matter is hes not going to get the contract he wants in the NHL if rumors that he wants a $100 million contract are true, especially now that the league is going to be supper anal about front loaded contracts. Any $100 million contract would most certainly amount to a sizable $8-10 million cap hit over 10-12 years and I just don’t see that happening in a hard cap world. It was only possible if the team could get the cap hit down a bit, but we saw how well that worked when NJ tried it.
    So one of two obvious things are going to happen: Hes going to take less money to play in the NHL, or hes going to take a crap load more money and go play in his home country. If he wasn’t Russian Id say hed certainly be in the NHL this season… but since he would be going home and playing I think theres at least a reasonable chance he splits to Russia.

  2. Alex - Aug 12, 2010 at 2:00 AM

    I dont know where he’ll end up now but the comment “… pay a luxury tax (something the NHL should consider instituting … ” got my attention…
    and no way is my answer. MLB and NBA have luxury taxes and their “caps” are pretty much useless.

  3. dylan9z9 - Aug 15, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    If Kovalchuk goes the the KHL ….. that would be a blow to NHL being deprived of a great player ie: jarmir jagr …. I would say Mr. Bean (Gary Bettman) is single handedly destroying the NHL.

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