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Report: Kovalchuk sets deadline to be signed or else KHL option becomes real

Aug 26, 2010, 8:42 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for kovalchukpressconf2.jpgIf you’ve been wondering what the deal is with Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils is The Ilya Kovalchuk soap opera has taken a stunning turn of events today. Yahoo’s Dmitry Chesnokov has the details.

For Ilya Kovalchuk(notes), his representatives, the New Jersey Devils and the NHL, time is running out. Weeks after Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million contract was rejected by the NHL, a difficult decision for the free-agent winger could come in the next 24-48 hours.

Sources close to Kovalchuk have told us that if the NHL does not approve any of the proposals submitted informally by the Devils, Kovalchuk may decide to play in the KHL next season.

This just about fries it for me as far as how things go for the NHL on this matter. We outlined what was going on with this nonsense the last two days when word came out both about the NHL pooh-poohing more contract framework and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman tap-dancing around questions about that happening. The point now is that the league has left Lou Lamoriello, Jay Grossman and Ilya Kovalchuk wandering around aimlessly trying to lock down a deal that works for everyone without having a blueprint to follow. Sure they could try to model things after Vincent Lecavalier’s 11-year contract, but who’s to say that 11 years is going to be too long to appease Commissioner Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly?

The NHL prides itself on being the home to the greatest hockey talent in the world and while the KHL pales in comparison both in talent level and in league stability, it remains the main option for anyone looking to continue playing professionally that can’t get a job in the NHL. Losing a star like Kovalchuk to the KHL over a squabble like this one, seemingly made to prove a point to other teams as well as agents and the NHLPA is insanity at its highest. With Kovalchuk setting this deadline to get a deal done, he’s making sure he at least has somewhere to play. The KHL season begins on September 8th.

  1. GTFO - Aug 26, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    I don’t give a damn if kovy goes to the KHL and nobody, except maybe devils fans are going to miss him one bit or even notice he’s gone.
    This is all on kovy and the devils. Kovy is holding out for top dollar when he could end this all quickly by lowering his demands or the devils can stop trying to get him for a 6 mill caphit and accept a larger caphit.
    The NHL is blameless in this. They aren’t stopping kovy from signing a hossa or luongo type deal. He could sign that and the NHL would approve it in a second. It’s just that he won’t accept a contract with a 5 mill caphit like those players.

  2. gtfo moron - Aug 26, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    You are a complete moron…he has the most goals since the lockout and is one of the most talented players in the NHL.
    How is the NHL blameless? there are no clear guidelines into what is acceptable, no numbers, no clear restrictions, the Devils and Kovy have spent their days figuring out what cry baby Bettman will accept…you have no idea what your talking about

  3. 2 is a moron - Aug 26, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    Most goals since the lockout? Ever heard of this Ovechkin guy in Washington?

  4. David - Aug 26, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    Ovechkin has the most goals since the lockout at 196 and then Kovy is second at 167. Then Heatley. Kovy has the 10th most points since the lockout. thornton has the most then ovechkin at second. We shouldnt want to see kovy leave but you wer ewrong moron. hehe had to

  5. David - Aug 26, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    actually its a little different than that but anywho Kovy does not have the most points.

  6. StakeX - Aug 26, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    Who cares. Hes a boring player to watch, and if you ask casual hockey fans who the top 5 or even 10 players in the NHL are Kovalchuk is probably not going to be one of the ones mentioned. If he wants to be Mr. Greed, and demand money he hasn’t earned… whos fault is it that no one has come knocking that can actually afford him without cap work around?. If he wanted to play at the highest level, and on a winning team… he’d be happy with $8 mil a year (a reasonable amount given his lack of accomplishment) on a winning team. However his desire to be the highest paid NHL player on the planet makes it hard for any team to come up with a contract thats not a clear effort to lower their cap hit… and few teams are willing to pay that much for an un-provent player (score all you want in the season, if you bomb in the playoffs you’re worthless).
    I won’t say its wrong of him to want the money… he is a professional after all and in any other job its perfectly fine to think money first. But to act like its some massive blow to the NHL if he leaves, or that its anyones fault but his is laughable. He has set a price so high that no team can make it right now… and hes going to end up playing in Russia because of it, IF this isn’t just some sort of bluff to try and scare the NHL.
    Personally I hope the league stands firm. The cap is there for a reason, and they can’t let teams go around it by dumping cap space with throw away years at the end…

  7. HAAAAA... - Aug 26, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    I bet that everyone who has just shot down Kovy is also a Ranger, Pens and/or Flyers fan. Don’t be so ignorant although I know it may be very tough for you guys.

  8. Bobby Scribe - Aug 26, 2010 at 11:28 PM

    That was an interesting perspective Joe. Here is our response to your claims.

  9. gary bettman - Aug 27, 2010 at 3:44 AM

    I am sorry to say this but I must admit I am the worst commissioner that has ever headed a sport. I don’t know what I am doing and wish that someone would replace me soon. The only thing I care about is my boyfriend Sidney Crosby. I am showcasing him again this year in the winter classic. I am considering having him wear a skirt this year…what do you all think? ps…I look like a hobbit don’t I?

  10. Anonymous - Aug 27, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    You are so right Gary!

  11. Todd - Aug 27, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    I agree that this has become absurd, the nhl apparently wants to make a statement here…the devils proposed a 15 yr deal that was shot down. The nhl wants 13 and below supposedly but who is to say. Its all good and dandy when a goalie from the island signs a 15 year deal. Regardless of the numbers, this is ridiculous in its own. Goalies probably have the shortest lifespan of a hockey player. The nhl will chase kovy to the khl and again become the laughing stock of sports. Gary Bettman only cares about Crosby the biotch. This whole mess really makes me sick. As for money, kovy would have already signed with the KHL if it was about money…its not. We also have to take in to affect his agent, who may be pushing a different contract. I do not think it is about the money with Kovy, that being said….end this ordeal one way or the other. As a devils fan, i want him, but as a hockey fan, i want it to be over.

  12. JDM - Aug 27, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Since when do you let some player try to hold the NHL hostage by issuing a threat that he will leave and go to the KHL?
    I’ve got to believe that most true hockey fans would say, ” Don’t let the door hit you in the BEHIND on your way out!”
    The talent that is in the league is great, and it comes from hard work & pride—Not from an ego that is so big that the team has to en-large the locker room door so that Kovalchuk can squeeze his over-sized ego through. I’ve got to wonder what other players in the NHL that have given there all to entertain us must be thinking.
    Bettman is an idiot, as is the DEVILS ORGANIZATION if they let this crybaby have his way. If you want to play in the NHL, then get real, and if you want to play in Russia, then go! Trust me on this one — the NHL will survive and there will be plenty other players in the years to come that will be just as good or better than “What’s his name”. Maybe the league should take a page out of the DETROIT RED WINGS playbook. There players are here to do what is right for the organization, the team, the NHL & most important the fans. Why? Because, to wear the “WINGED WHEEL” you have to put ego in check and the most important thing is playing hockey 100%.

  13. JDM is jealous - Aug 29, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    You are a jealous little boy. If Kovy was potentialy singing with the Red Wings, there is no way you would be saying that. Are you still upset with the Devil sweep in 95′? Looking forward to embarassing your “winged wheel” again this season. Punk.

  14. JDM - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    First off…Kovy would have to climb down off his high horse to even play on a team like the Wings. And second… you don’t get upset when you are sweep by a better team at the time. and the devils were the better team in ’95. They didn’t have Kovy then, or any other ego-tripping crybaby on there team, Just a group of very good hockey players who went out and got the job done. So congrats to the ’95 Devils. But I wouldn’t expect anyone that has to end their comment by calling someone a PUNK to carry-on an educated conversation about anything. Check the stat’s. Since ’95 how many times have the devils been to the dance? That’s what I thought! Jealous? Embarrassed? I think not, a true hockey fan is more like it. You see, I don’t have to call you a punk or anything else…just inform you of the facts.

  15. JDM is still jealous - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    The reason I called you a punk is because you are bashing a player who happens to be one of the elite players in the league that is full of talent. I don’t think you should call someone ego hungry just because they are trying to negotiate a deal that potentially will put him into retirement. It is a business negotiation and a business decision. I commend any players in the league that play for peanuts just because they love the game. Others though need to prepare for their future and their retirement. I understand that you are a true hockey fan but that shouldnt make it right to not market yourself to get the most money possible for your ability. He is also having his negotiations done with an agent who is also trying to get the best possible deal for his client. Just as if a lawyer would try to get the best possible settlement for his client. It is business, don’t take it personal. There is also more to the NHL than your beloved wings so get off your high horse while you are at it.

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